Give your mother a special heartfelt, handmade gift this year.
Well, handmade by someone else. Someone who knows what they’re doing. Someone who doesn’t end up getting glue in their hair and sneezing glitter for hours afterwards.
1. Beautiful jewelry with a hidden message for mom.
Made of recycled (and recyclable) aluminum, this line of bracelets, earrings and necklaces from Giftologie are the trifecta of goodness: handmade, sustainable and each purchase supports local and global women’s initiatives.
2. Timeless, handcrafted leather goods.
Inspired by nature and the Swedish forests where she grew up, the maker behind Fortrollad carefully crafts each piece in her collection with timeless style and sustainability as guiding principles.
3. One-of-a-kind pottery.
These gorgeous Shino glazed mugs from A Third Space Pottery are the perfect marriage of good looks and purpose. Mom will be reminded of your thoughtful gift each time she sips her favourite beverage.
4. Mouth-watering deliciousness, in a cake.
You may not be able to take mom for a trip to Jamaica, but Montfriese Rum Cakes can give her the next best thing, delicious Jamaican Rum Cake. Made locally in the Niagara Region, ships across North America.
5. Spring in a jar.
Made with love by an amazing mother of 3, Mother’s Touch Candles are my favourite go-to for gift giving. My current obsession is Flower Child, an uplifting floral scent perfect for spring.
The Good List is a curated list of things that are good for you, your community and the planet.
I’ve been a fan of Jane Lockhart for many years and I’m so honored to have her on the podcast as my guest. She is a true delight and I know you’ll love listening to this episode!
Jane Lockhart is an interior designer, television personality, colour expert and author. Since 1997 Jane has been designing award winning, retail, hospitality, and residential spaces. Her tv series Colour Confidential, helped homeowners transform their homes with colour, proving she is the true paint deck whisperer! Jane has designed and developed two furniture collections and continues to share her expertise across North America on television and in print.
This episode is filled to the brim with design goodness! You’ll learn how to how to find the perfect paint color and why we need to start buying furniture made in Canada.
(Products, places & people mentioned in the podcast.)
A few of Jane’s favourite paint colours:
Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, Kendall Charcoal & Pale Cherry Blossom
Do you make new year’s resolutions? I only make them for my house. I know I need to eat less chocolate, drink less coffee and exercise more but what’s the fun in that? Besides how could I accomplish my resolutions if I wasted the energy I get from chocolate and coffee on exercising more? The goal is to create a house that feels like home and reflects me and my family – here’s how we’ve been working towards that:
After all it’s not a contest! There is no prize for the best house (well actually there is, but winning won’t make your life better). Every year magazines publish entire issues devoted to the latest trends, the colour of the year and the must-haves in decor. But this is the year to put down the magazines and choose for yourself what you want your house to be. Magazines and online sites like Pinterest are great sources of inspiration but they shouldn’t be the only source. Travel, art, literature and architecture are also important and it’s what has inspired designers long before Instagram was telling us how to live. It really doesn’t matter which colour or trend is the look of the year, the one that you love is the right one.
Stop buying art at big box stores.
Instead search your local universities, antique stores, auction houses and even Instagram to find art and artist that reflect your style. Check out Artsy to discover, bid and buy new and emerging artists. Find more art inspiration here and here.
Stop being cheap.
Start buying quality. Consider how and where a piece of furniture is made. A well made piece will stand the wear and tear of everyday life and look good longer than a cheaply made one. Price isn’t always the best indicator of quality. Research, ask questions and examine the piece to see if it’s good quality. If you can’t find something of quality in your area that fits your need consider repainting or repurposing an existing piece of well made furniture.
Stop collecting things you don’t need.
Get rid of the clutter and decor items that don’t make you happy. It’s okay to let go of things that you once loved but don’t anymore. Also, two years worth of back copies of People magazine doesn’t make anyone happy. Let that go.
Start creating the life you want at home.
Eat food that makes you feel good. Play music that makes your space feel happy, cozy or whatever mood you need in this moment. Do the things that bring you joy. Remember that your home is for you and should serve the people in it. This is not an all at once goal. When we had children we decided that we didn’t want to be the family that was out every night of the week running here and there. Instead we wanted to be the family that ate a leisurely dinner together and made time for conversation and connections, so we limit what we do during weekday evenings. It’s not always easy to say no to the things that get in the way of this goal. There have been volunteer opportunities, extracurricular activities and many other events that we could have packed into our busy week but sticking by this goal has made it easier on us and our children. There’s a comfort in knowing what to expect when you walk into the door of your home.
So cheers to the new year and all the promise that it holds for our homes and our families. I’d love to hear what your house resolutions are for 2019!
It just isn’t Christmas without a batch (or three) of these family favourites. Growing up we would look forward to making these each December and spent just as much time choosing the perfect the cookie cutter as we did rolling out the dough. This is my great grandmother’s recipe and I love that I can continue this tradition with my own kids.
1 pound salted butter (do not use unsalted!), softened
3 cups flour
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
Mix butter and icing sugar until creamy. Add flour and cornstarch. Mix well with a stand mixer or enlist the help of little (freshly washed) hands.
Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and go crazy with your favourite festive cookie cutters.
Don’t forget to top with sprinkles or glazed cherries. Apparently, the more the better!
Bake at 325 F for 8 to 10 minutes until light golden brown. Keep an eye on the oven near the end of the baking time as they can burn quickly. Let cool on a wire rack before transferring to an airtight container. These cookies freeze well too.
Any leftover dough can be cut into little circles and popped into a mini muffin tin. Bake as directed above and top with your favourite homemade (or not) jam.
These hand picked (& handmade) hostess gifts will ensure a repeat invitation and maybe even a second helping of dessert.
I’m obsessed with these hand poured soy wax, essential oil infused candles from Mother’s Touch Candles. Currently burning this year’s festive fav, Yule.
Let’s bring back the charm and grace of the cloth cocktail napkin. Part napkin, part coaster, completely adorable & sustainable in this vintage print from 8 O’Clock Crafts.
Bring a pint or two of the best small batch, decadent ice cream you can get your hands on. Hometown Ice Cream is tops around here. The carrot cake flavour has an entire homemade carrot cake blended into the ice cream – it’s dessert within a dessert.
Giving jam from Southridge Jam Company not only spreads cheer, it helps provide life skills and job training to individuals who have experienced homelessness. Your host receives delicious jams, the jam makers receive support, dignity and self-worth.
While a nice wine is always appreciated, why not shake things up a little with Southbrook’s Organic Wild Ferment Cider. Even non-beer drinkers will like the crisp, dry, refreshing taste. Plus, because there’s 750 ml of the stuff, you may be rewarded with a glass yourself.
The Good List is a curated list of things that are good for you, your community and the planet.
While Instagram and Pinterest have been decking the halls for a few weeks already, I’m still in the pre-decorating stage.That’s code for cleaning. It’s no secret I love to clean. No, really I mean it. Cleaning gives me an instant sense of accomplishment – it’s a very visceral, rewarding experience. I also need to have a clean, organized and edited house before I bring out the holly and the ivy. I know it’s culturally expected to tackle the whole home purge in January, but I love going into the holiday season knowing this job is already done. It gives me more time in the new year to hibernate!
Most recently I tackled my bedroom closet. This was a job I couldn’t do on my own. I felt totally overwhelmed by the stuff that was packed in there: jeans that haven’t fit in years but that I couldn’t get rid, a dress that cost more than I care to admit but never looked right on me and lots of sentimental keepsakes that needed to be moved elsewhere. I reached out to Joanna Petersen of Space Sense Organizing. I had a lot of guilt about the state of my closet. I struggled with an eating disorder when I was younger and still sometimes clothing my body can be stressful. So the thought of having to go through my clothes, piece by piece, and get rid things that no longer fit was enough to make me put this task off as long as I could.
Clothing, like food, can bring up so many memories and feelings. What I needed was an unbiased, objective voice that could help remove the emotion from clearing out my closet. This is exactly what Joanna gave me. She encouraged me to just focus on one item at time and was gracious when my “maybe” pile was bigger than my “give away” or “keep” piles. In the end we gave away about half the clothes in the closet. What I was left with was a clean, organized and streamlined space that no longer made me feel anxious or guilty when I look at it. Learning to accept that time, age and childbirth has changed my body is an ongoing journey. Having a space filled with clothes I like and make me feel good has helped to make that journey a little easier. I’m no longer burdened with memories of jean-sizes-of-the-past or having the shame of not fitting into them anymore confront me every morning.
Here’s Joanna’s notes and tips for cleaning out a clothes closet.
How to organize a closet:
Get ready – have bags ready for any garbage or donation, a broom/vacuum and a wet cloth.
Remove items from closet – As you remove items, be mindful that you will be sorting them so try to keep like items together as you remove the clothes.
Clean closet – take this time to sweep/vacuum and wipe the shelves
Sort – Get all the like items together. You want to do a micro sorting for this, meaning don’t just put all the shirts together. Break it down into further categories like tank tops, tee shirts, button downs etc.
Declutter/Purge – Now that you have the items sorted, you have a clear idea of what you have and how much of it you have. Go through each pile and see what you can let go of. Consider things like how often you wear it, how much you like it, how it fits, and if it’s still in style.
Decide what is going back in the closet and what may be stored elsewhere – Depending on how much room you have in your closet, you may have to store away items such as clothing that is out of season
Put everything back! – Now that you have clearly identified what is staying and have all the items stored, you are ready to put them back. For things that will be hung, try using the same hangers and hang clothing in the same direction. This will keep a tidier appearance and clothes will fit better in the space.Asking for help is important. We weren’t created to walk through life alone and I have been so blessed to have amazing friends and family help me get through this and many other of life’s valleys. I encourage you to reach out to those you love and trust and share in each other burdens. When Joanna and I started the process of organizing my closet I could have never imagined the freedom it would bring. I’m so grateful for her help and knowledge in this.
My guest on the podcast this week is interior designer Joel Bray. You know him from the pages of Canadian House and Home magazine and the Marilyn Denis Show. When Joel isn’t solving decorating dilemmas or giving his expert advice on how to style your home, he’s creating classic interiors infused with youthful energy. Joel has a great eye for design and his spaces feel warm, personal and inviting.
In this episode, Joel shares his best decorating secrets (spoiler – it has nothing to do with design), and once and for all defines what Canadian style really is! We also talk trends, how to create balance in any space and how one simple change can make your room come to life.
Why you need to push your bed against the wall:
Top Row: Kate Zeidler Designs, Brian Paquette Interiors Bottom Row: Salvensen Graham, Kate Rheinstein Brodsky
You’ll have to listen to the episode to get all of Joel’s great design advice and hear the most common decorating mistakes we’re making and how to solve them.
A huge thank you to Joel for being on the show. Happy listening!
In the small southern Ontario town of Fonthill, blogger, curator, collector and seamstress Meg Gizuk runs Oliver & Rust – a decor and lifestyle store bursting with personality and style. I sat down with her last week to chat about the changing seasons and the easiest way to bring autumn into your home. Here are Meg’s favourite ways to warm up your space and celebrate fall.
Change your pillows.
Give any room a lift with the addition of fresh, seasonal pillows. Meg and her staff hand make all the pillow covers in her shop from new and vintage textiles. It’s hard not to get excited about the vast collection of colours and textures. Pile a few of these beauties on your sofa for instant autumnal coziness.
Add a plant – or 10.
Cheaper than a venti Pumpkin Spice Latte, house plants like the red toned autumn fern and the dark green button fern add depth to your fall decor. House plants can change with the seasons with a simple switch of a pot. Pop your plants into terracotta, brass, wood or wicker containers for a look that works all season.
House plants are cheaper than seasonal bouquets, last longer and help clean the air. It’s okay if your thumb is less than green! Even if you only get one season from your plant baby you can toss it in the compost when you’re done with it and feel good knowing you didn’t resort to buying velvet faux pumpkins to get the fall feels.
Take your cues from nature.
The trees have it right – turn up the rust, copper, brown, orange and red in your space. Don’t be afraid to pair these traditional fall colours with what you already have.
Don’t take it all so seriously.
Your home is where you live and and it’s all about your personal style regardless of the trends or seasons. So make sure your home is filled with the things you love.
Please visit Oliver & Rust at 137 Highway 20 East in Fonthill, Ontario for an ever changing collection of curated vintage goods, handmade textiles, home decor and lots and lots of houseplants. A big thank you to Meg for allowing me to loiter in her lovely space and sharing these great decorating tips.
Since it’s still officially summer we can still officially talk about patios! I love patio season and getting the most from our backyard was at the top of our to do list this year. Last year we made lots of upgrades to our backyard, you can see them here. This summer we continued the work by enhancing our pool side sitting area. I love the space we have but hated staring at the all the laundry and furnace vents that stuck out the house right beside it.
Here’s what we started with:
And here’s what we did:
We (I mean an HVAC professional) moved our air conditioning earlier in the season to the other side of the house. It was sitting to the left of the basement window and would kill any conversation when it cycled on. With the AC out of the way we were left with an ugly wall of vents and pipes and a window that looks directly into our scary laundry room.
The screen is actually two screens attached together and then drilled into the concrete and attached to the house with brackets. Below are some loose instructions on how it came together:
We (when I say “we” I totally mean “he”) dado cut the centre of three 2x4s. This became the frame of the screen and was joined with mitred corners.
Once the outside frame was complete we slid the 1×10 fence boards into the track inside of the frame. We used small bits of scrap half inch square blocks to create a consistent space between the pieces of board.
By varying the width of the boards, it looks more modern and less fence-like.
A fourth dado cut 2×4 with mitred corners was added to the top of the panel to finish it off. Each panel has a supporting piece running down the centre to make it extra sturdy.
The entire project took half a day to complete and about an hour to install. The best part is that the patio area has become its own cozy destination and will help to extend the season once the pool is closed.