Thursday, June 28, 2007

Charme de Tour Eiffel

We went 'small town exploring' today, since dad, mum and I had the day off and my brother is away camping with friends. We decided to take all of the back roads and enjoy the drive through the country, then enjoyed a picnic lunch in a small park we came across. The town we visited is called Preston, Ontario...mum has wanted me to visit one of her favourite stores, "On A Whim" known for its shabby chic and vintage items. We brought the camera with us, but ended up leaving it in the van to free our hands for all of those bags we knew we'd be carrying out of the shops!

Inside was an assortment of vintage clothing and hats, antique magazines, vintage linens and dress forms to name a few things. While mum fell in love with a vintage wicker shopping basket painted robin's egg blue, which reminded her of the one Cammy from Freckled Farm once posted, I came across a small Eiffel Tower charm which I had to have!

Now that we've ticked this little town off of our summer to-do list, Sheila has inspired us to return to Port Perry for some more small town shopping... I'll let you know what I find there!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ralph le chien

Inspired by Sophie's most recent post and request to see photos of 'Ralph', I have posted a few photos of the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning...and the first thing I've seen in the morning for the past 22 years! This is one of my first childhood toys, given to me when I was just a baby. My mum bought Ralph because he reminded her so much of Doris Day's dog, 'Biggest' (and being the huge Doris Day fan my mum is, I'm surprised by name isn't Doris!)

Ralph is a very well loved and well travelled dog. He has done more travelling than some people, having visited most of Canada and the United States! He tagged along on sleepovers, comforted me when I had the chickenpox, and was always the first thing loaded back into the car in order to guarantee he would never be left behind in a hotel room! (it happened once, and we drove all the way back to find him sitting at the front desk in the lobby...whew!)

He still wears the red collar with the name tag I wrote our address on when I was 5, and he has a very cute black felt nose, which has been worn over the years. Much like in the book "The Velveteen Rabbit", Ralph is so beloved he's become life-like.

I'd love to hear about your treasured stuffed toys and the memories behind them!

Monday, June 25, 2007


While I love the fast, instant gratification of e-mail, there is nothing better than going to the mailbox and receiving good, old-fashioned 'snail mail'. This past weekend, I came across a box of old letters, birthday/graduation cards, and a few of those just-because notes from over the years. There were letters from my great aunt, parents, friends, and I have even saved the notes my mum wrote and snuck in my lunch bag when I was younger...little notes that said things like "Have a great day, sweetheart. See you after school under the tree. xo Mum" or "Do you want pizza for dinner...check 'yes' or 'no'" or reminders that we had a special movie on t.v. that night. These notes were always accompanied by a little smiley face with squiggley hair and a few x's and o's. And while most kids want to know what others have packed for their lunch, my friends always wanted to see what mum had written on my notes. I've also realized that you're never too old for a hand-written note, as I found one today in my lunch bag.

Whatever the case may be or whichever you choose - e-mail, snail's always nice to catch up with people you love, but there's just something that you can't beat about reading a handwritten note sent just to you. Maybe tonight, if there's someone you haven't heard from in a while or have lost touch with and you're wondering how they're doing, you could drop them a handwritten note...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Trouvailles de dîner de milieu de l'été et samedi de brocante à domicile de matin

Just as Saturday morning garage sales are a tradition in our family, so is Midsummer Nights' Dinner which we have every June 23rd. We light votive candles, have tea cakes and enjoy the beautiful weather. It's something we've done for years since I was a child, and it's a tradition I hope to pass down to my own children some day.

And, as promised, I have posted my Saturday morning garage sale finds...

Mum and I found beautiful handmade lace, a glass apothecary jar which I filled with seashells, a set of French pink note cards and a few movies with Sandra Bullock (my favourite actress!)..."Practical Magic" and "The Net". We're having a movie night this Friday and I think we'll be making it a "Sandra Bullock" night!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Plus de métiers de mon studio

Wooden Purse with Bamboo Handle

  • Scrabble tiles
  • Bird stamp
  • Moss
  • Nest and eggs
  • Embossed paper
  • Ribbon and feathered trim

Composition Books

  • Antique playing cards
  • Decorative seals and paper
  • Ribbon and Crystal trim
  • Vintage bird cutout
  • Eggs, scrabble tiles, pearls, seashells
  • Ticket stubs

Paper Mache French Shape

  • Fun fur
  • Black/black toile tissue paper
  • Rhinestone broach

French-Inspired Canvases

  • Toile tissue paper
  • Velum sheets
  • Scrabble blocks
  • Letter blocks
  • Decorative seals
  • Decorative rose
  • Pictures and conversation bubbles taken from vintage Time magazines

Birthday Canvases

  • Fun fur
  • Decorative paper
  • 3-D cardboard cutouts
  • Decorative seals
  • Letter blocks
  • Ribbon

Large Shadow Boxes

  • Raffia, ribbon, handmade tissue paper
  • Scrabble tiles
  • Seashells
  • Small bird
  • Nest with eggs
  • Small dried silver dollar leaves and twigs

Here are a few more of my completed art projects. I recently accepted a position as a research assistant to a professor at the University I just graduated from, so being able to craft will soon become a luxury! I find it so relaxing to be able to sit down, be surrounded by beautiful and inspiring items, and have free reign to create! It's having the best of both worlds, because there's a part of me that's very academic (I love school and books), but I also have an artistic desire to create art and make my surroundings beautiful.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Échantillons provenant de mon studio

Shadow Boxes

  • pearls, vintage buttons and lace
  • ticket stubs
  • antique music paper
  • nests and eggs
  • scrabble tiles
  • paper and photographs from vintage Life magazines
  • metal embellishments (lock and key)
  • Eiffel Tower label

Small Collages

  • glitter stones
  • stamps, seals, tags and labels
  • pearls
  • raffia
  • antique paper

Fairy Jars

  • Crystal stone trim
  • Seashells
  • glitter, glitter stones, sequins, metal embellishments (lock and key)
  • pink flower
  • ticket stub
  • vintage paper doll
  • vintage rick-rack and ribbon

Large Collages

  • vintage ribbon, seals, pearls
  • vintage photographs ('camping scene' photo taken from antique book; Marilyn Monroe photos taken from vintage Life magazines)
  • scrabble tiles
These are a few samples from my studio art room that is nestled under the staircase in our home. Mum and I are hoping to rent a table at a local craft sale this summer/fall, and we are sorting through our completed (and half-completed!) art projects. Since it was raining today and I had the day off of work, it was the perfect time to surround myself with supplies, put in my favourite c.d., and take some pictures. I have posted collages of a few of them today and I will post the others over the next few days (blogger can only hold so much!) I also hope to start my own Etsy shop in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes out for my next new projects. I have just started creating some composition books that will be perfect to turn into journals or sketch books. So far, they have been covered in Bohemia paper and have glittered words and initials on them. I will add the next few embellishments to make each one unique and one-of-a-kind (and all ready to fly from the French Nest to your nest!)

I've been fortunate enough to come across or have been given little snippets of the past...I love anything from another era. My great-grandfather's small deck of playing cards have been used as an embellishment in my shadow boxes and on my composition books, vintage lace and buttons from my great-grandmother have also been used as decorative touches and I always keep an eye out for vintage photographs and postcards at garage sales.

It's that little bit of personalization that gives life to art and makes them as unique as the person who will find joy in them.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Le Jour De Père Heureux !

Although it's a day late, I have to say Happy (belated) Father's Day to my dad! We spent the entire afternoon and evening celebrating, and had a wonderful dinner outdoors in our garden.

One of my favourite pictures of my dad is one where he is holding my and my brother's hand as we're walking down a dock on holiday in the Muskokas. We visit the same location at least once a year, and I am reminded of this picture which I cherish so much.

Happy Father's Day Dad! I love you!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Samedi Brocantes à domicile De Matin

All I need on a Saturday morning is my cup of coffee, my list of garage sales, and of course my partner-in-crime, my mum. We began the morning feeling, shall we say, jipped....we came across no bargains and by 10 a.m. our only purchase was a c.d. (not very "garage sale queens" like). But luckily, our luck improved when I came across these gorgeous pink 1950's painted glass flowers. At 50 cents for the pair, how could I resist? And, it reminded me a lot of Sophie Honeysuckle's English decor blog (which I am a huge fan of).

Speaking of Sophie Honeysuckle, on a recent post she had posted some beautiful photos of her Venetian mirror above a fireplace in one of the rooms in her home. I have always loved Venetian mirrors and have a small Venetian perfume tray on my dresser. So, you can just imagine my amazement (and excitement!) when I saw this large Venetian mirror at HomeSense this afternoon for only $100!! It wasn't on the floor yet, but I spotted it out of the corner of my eye in the back room. I kept returning to see if they were going to eventually bring out onto the floor, and the two stock boys standing in front of it kept smirking...I think they interpreted my interest as interest in THEM rather than the mirror! What I really wanted to do was ask them to move so that I could keep checking the beautiful mirror out!!

I was also supposed to be shopping for a Father's Day gift, but when a girl spots a bargain, she has to make a quick detour!

Mirror, Mirror

On the Wall,

Who snagged the best deal

Of them all?


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Belles Écharpes En soie Françaises

I couldn't rest at simply one post displaying all of my lovely French gifts from Q. I still can't stop looking at them, they are so beautiful. These silk scarves are now draped over my French form, but I have plans to frame them in the future...I may stop off at IKEA on my way to work this afternoon to find the prefect frames for them. Q also had the great suggestion to tie the scarves around a handbag...très chic!

The Eiffel Towers are sitting next to my antique typewriter on my hope chest, as are the adorable French wooden finger puppets. And the Eiffel Tower cookie cutter has found its home in one of our kitchen drawers, waiting for a batch of sugar cookies to appear!
Mmmmmm.....Eiffel tower who could resist those?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Un Colis des Cadeaux Français-Inspirés

"In the golden chain of friendship...

Regard me as a link"


This morning I awoke to a beautiful parcel at my front door from Q. Inside I found French gifts - everything from two silk scarves with Parisian designs on them, little French finger puppets, a beautiful vintage perfume catalogue and 3 Eiffel Tower statues. My collection is growing, thanks to my generous friends and family. I am overwhelmed by Q's generosity, and I want to thank her for this beautiful package.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sac à main De Gucci

On a recent garage sale trip, I came across an authentic Gucci handbag...a real bargain, at only $5!!! The woman who sold it to me was a self-confessed shopaholic whose job allowed her the luxury to travel around Europe numerous times a year. And, she had everything from Prada to Gucci, to Chanel sunglasses and Jimmy Choo shoes. It was a bargain hunters dream garage sale!

I must say though, this time I actually took the time to make sure the purse was authentic, because prior to this bargain I found myself on a dark, rainy very early Saturday morning just before work stopping off at a sale where I also found a "Gucci" purse. Because of the rain, she had moved everything into a dark, dreary garage which made it next to impossible to distinguish between "Made in Italy" and "Made in China"! When I brought the purse home, to my horror, it wasn't actually a was a "Gychhi"! And that 'y' made all the difference in the world! It wasn't even worth the $1 I paid (since I also hated the colour!)

I lucked out this time though, and we still laugh about the "Gycchi" maybe the $1 was worth it after all!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Ce que j'écoute maintenant...

It was just by accident one afternoon that I happen to stumble across a music channel showcasing one of the most brilliant artists and songwriters I have ever listened to:

His voice is a mix between Bruce Springsteen and Steven Tyler. It's a unique and distinct voice, one that is hard to forget once you've heard it. Once the lead singer of the bands "Audioslave", "Soundgarden" and "Temple of the Dog", Chris branched out and began a solo career. This is the second solo album he's released and it is amazing...I've been listening to 'Carry On' every morning on my way to work, I look forward to the drive back home to listen to it once more, and then I listen to it right before I fall asleep.

You must listen to the song "Arms Around Your Love" and his rendition of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean".

He's gorgeous, he's got one of the most powerful voices I've ever heard AND the man writes his own music! He'll be visiting Canada on his tour in July so click on his name which will take you to his website...he may be coming to a city near you and you can hear this incredible talent in person!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Graduation Day

Today, at 9:30 a.m., I graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. Sitting in the convocation hall waiting for the procession to begin and listening to the musical prelude was surreal. I cannot believe that four years have flown by so fast. I have so many great memories, great friends, have been inspired by wonderful professors who have been my mentors over the years, have had the love and support from family and friends and have graduated from the University that I love.

Our valedictorian wrote an inspirational (and funny!) speech, beginning with the line...

"A good speech is like a miniskirt. Short enough to keep it interesting, but long enough to cover the essentials...." You just know that when a speech begins like that, it is sure to be a success.

But, I think the great Dr. Suess wrote it best:

"Congratulations! Today is your day.

You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own.

And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know.

You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that

Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Brayor Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea, you're off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So...get on your way!

---Dr. Seuss

Class of 2007, congratulations!
Mum, Dad, Alex, Ben and Jax - Thank you for your constant love, inspiration, support and guidance.
I love you.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Nuit De Film

This past weekend, mum and I went to our favourite 'small and unpretentious' movie theatre located just downtown. There's a much more relaxed, comfortable atmosphere there as opposed to the larger cinemas and, *bonus*, with $5.00 tickets, there's plenty of cash left over for goodies (aka popcorn, soda, raisonettes, junior mints, etc....)! After seeing the film "Perfect Stranger" with my girlfriends a few months ago (and raving about it since then), I just had to take my mum to go and see it. Not only are two hunks in it (Bruce Willis and Giovanni Ribisi), but it's a favourite genre of ours: horror meets drama with a twist for an ending.

My mum and I consider ourselves to be "eager beavers" when it comes to being on time, and we actually arrived 45 minutes BEFORE the movie started! But, this gave us plenty of time to choose our 'treats', find the perfect seats, browse through the theatre magazines, catch up on some gossip and have a few laughs. It was a perfect 'girls night' out!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Jupe De Cru

I love anything one-of-a-kind and a little out of the ordinary, and these words define the shops that I also like to spend my days off browsing in. So, when I stumbled across this vintage skirt from Italy, I immediately checked the size (yes, it fit!) and I knew I just had to have it!

I purchased it at the end of last summer, but I knew at the time that it is a skirt for all seasons. I dress it up in the fall/winter with a pair of stiletto boots and black turtleneck, and in the spring/summer with my Givenchy sling backs which I picked up for a song at another one of my favourite consignment shops. Consignment shops are the ideal shopping location for university students like myself who want to look stylish on a dime! Beauty on a budget, in other words!

It also reminds me so much of the outfits Sarah Jessica Parker was fortunate enough to wear as "Carrie Bradshaw" on Sex and the City. And although I consider myself a jeans and t-shirt kind of a girl it's always nice to dress up once in awhile, spray on the Chanel No. 5 and go out dancing with the girls!