Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Scary Stuff

Now that hurricane Sandy has blown through the eastern States and Southern Ontario, those of us who still have hydro can be thankful to have come through the storm unscathed. Many residents in the eastern States were not so lucky, and our thoughts and prayers are with them today as they struggle with power outages, flooding and scattered debris.

In less scary news, with Hallowe'en just around the corner, I want to share this easy yet eerie pumpkin carving project: The Mouse Motel. Thanks to blogger Jen Selk for reminding me about this fun idea which was originally conceived by the creative minds at Martha Stewart.

My Mom and I carved our pumpkins on Saturday afternoon, and with a bit of trial and error we each completed our own mouse motel. Afraid to use a knife but without a pumpkin carving kit, we improvised by starting the holes with a corkscrew and then rounding them out with a sturdy spoon. I think they turned out great!

Project Costs:

2 Small Pumpkins x $1.50 = $3.00
2 Pkgs Mice (Dollarama) x $1.00 = $2.00
Pumpkin Carving Fun = Priceless!

Photos by Pamela Graham for Cherish Toronto.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Been There, Seen That: Paris Edition

 The view from my hotel room.

I'm home...did you miss me? Paris was ahh-mazing!! I did a lot, a lot, a lot of walking through the city, so much that I almost wore a hole through the sole of my ballet flats, but it was worth every step. I saw all of the sights I had on my list of "must see places" and them some. I realized that my french is totally pathetic, but that it's good enough to place an order in a restaurant and conduct simple retail transactions.

Everything was so picturesque in Paris, from the charming apartment buildings to the numerous brasseries and cafes lining the streets of the St. Germain district.  I had an amazing experience, soaking in the atmosphere of the modern Parisian lifestyle, while at the same time surrounded by centuries of history. What an amazing trip, highly recommended!!

 Brasserie Le Saint-Germain


La Tour Eiffel, completed 1889

Arc de Triomphe, completed 1836

Musee du Louvre
Notre Dame, completed 1345

 Place de la Concorde. The fountains were stunning!

 Pont Alexandre III

 Basilica du Sacre-Coeur, completed 1914

 Steps in Montmarte
 Fontaine Saint-Sulpice, completed 1848

 Mercury Riding Pegasus, Antoine Coysevox

Jardin des Tuileries

 Jardin du Luxembourg

All photos by Pamela Graham for Cherish Toronto.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Choose the Perfect Area Rug

Considering last week's subject matter here on the blog, I thought this segment from The Marilyn Denis Show would be particularly appropriate. Home and decor expert Karl Lohnes shares some great tips about how to choose and find the perfect area rug.

Click the "play" arrow in the photo below to watch the video*:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

Just wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a very Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend. Hopefully everyone has the chance to spend some quality time with family and friends. I am thankful for many blessings, and wish you all a warm and cozy holiday!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Countdown to Paris!!

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As you read the title, of course you must pronounce it "Paree" as I do in my head. Je suis tres enthousiaste pour mon voyage!! I have no idea how my OAC level french will fare in the City of Light, but hopefully I will be able to muddle through with as little embarrassment as possible. The travel arrangements were made just a few weeks ago, and since then I've been selecting the key ingredients for a successful trip. I would like to visit as many highlights as possible, while at the same time I want to leave myself time to wander the streets and absorb the Parisian atmosphere.

My "Must See" Destinations

This one is obvious, right? Who visits Paris
without seeing La Tour Eiffel?

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Nearby is Place de la Concorde, which you're probably
familiar with if you've ever seen a movie filmed in Paris.
The public square is home to a beautiful pair
of fountains representing the rivers and the sea.

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No doubt I'll pass by the Arc de Triomphe
which is just a short walk from the square.

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I'm excited to be staying in the 6th arrondissement
 within just a few blocks of Jardin du Luxembourg.

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I imagine there will be time to visit The Pantheon,
an expansive mausoleum just east of the gardens.

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A visit to Paris wouldn't be complete without a visit
to these two very famous churches:

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At the first sign of rain I'll be visiting La Musee D'Orsay
which is known for housing the work of french
impressionists such as Monet, Renoir and Degas.

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If time allows, I'll take a day trip to visit the famous
and history rich Chateau de Versailles.

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There is so much to see, and I'll only be in Paris for five days!! Hopefully it will be enough time to see all of the sights I've highlighted above, and more. Have you visited Paris? What would you recommend as a "don't miss it" destination? Oh, and where should I eat on a pauper's budget? Suggestions welcome :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Opinions Wanted!!

I like to consider myself to be decisive individual, but this living room rug thing has got me beat! I could really use some help on this one, so I'm holding a popular opinion poll.

Please feel free to use this floorplan as your guide for visualization purposes:

Here is the pertinent information you will need before casting your vote:
  • Flooring throughout the entry, kitchen, dining and living room areas in the new condo will be a dark walnut.
  • Kitchen cabinetry will also be walnut surround, with BM Cloud White door fronts.
  • The neighbouring dining room will have a glossy white sideboard with glass top table and white chairs (these could be painted & recovered in a new fabric).
  • The dining room accent wall will be painted a punchy colour such as marine blue. Ideally, the shade will be chosen from a colour in the rug.
  • Living room furniture will include the existing chocolate brown couch, two beige linen slipper chairs and round smoked glass top coffee table.
  • A vintage campaign dresser will be used as entertainment unit and painted with a colour also pulled from the rug.
These photos provide an overall image of each rug, followed by how they will look in the space, and detail photos of each to give you a better idea of the colours.

Here are the three contenders:





Let me know in the comments below whether you like, Rug 1, Rug 2, or Rug 3... And if you don't like any of these, you can tell me that too, since there's still time to go back to the drawing board. I really appreciate your feedback on this one, readers!! I never thought this would be soooo difficult :-(

EDIT:  Thanks to all of you who voted by leaving a comment here, via twitter or via email. The scrutineers have finished counting the ballots, and the winner is RUG #1 (for those who are really curious, Rug #3 came second,  followed by Rug #4 (the nonexistent choice), with Rug #2 bringing up the rear. To find out which rug I chose (if any) you'll have to wait for the big living room reveal coming up in just 2 short months.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Moving Along and Moving Soon!!

I've got so many things on my mind right now: entry, study, guest bedroom, dining room, living room, master suite. It's the world's longest "to do" list and it's just a bit overwhelming. To keep my sanity I'm trying to compartmentalize each room, but at the same time the key to a cohesive design is for all of the spaces to work together. Stress!!

The open concept living and dining room are causing me the most anxiety, so I'm leaving them for last. Since the guest room is pretty much a done deal, I'm moving on to the master suite, which is coming together easily (knock on wood). As originally planned, the room will be a tranquil lavender, but the impossible to afford find chinoiserie wallpaper has been put on the back burner.

The walls will all be painted in this super soft shade of lavender: Gown, SR9 from Sarah Richardson's paint collection for Para Paints.

I saw this Gluckstein Home Magnolia bedding months & months ago, and finally purchased a duvet cover and matching shams this past weekend at The Bay (where it's currently 30% off). I chose this because it doesn't scream "purple!" and it has just the right touch of floral. I also purchased the soft lilac sheet set from the Style at Home Collection, they coordinate perfectly!

For accents, I'm going to whip up two lumbar pillows in this combination of purple, ivory and gold loveliness:

Thanks goodness I'm able to use my current bedside table and lamps in the new master, since I still have to purchase one more key item: a bed. I know what I want, but I'm dreading the $$$ deposit.

The walk in closet will get a coat of a slightly deeper shade of purple: SR39, Dusk, also from Sarah Richardson's paint collection for Para Paints. It's going to be so glamorous in there!

This ceiling light fixture has been in my storage locker for about a year now and I can't wait to see it installed!!

I have an ongoing project for this space which I'm procrastinating on just about to start involving a pair of these quatrefoil mirrors and a package of gold leaf:


The master bath has some great finishes, including a French Vanilla marble floor, one of the few upgrades I opted to splurge on:

The soft purple scheme will carry into the ensuite bath with these fabulous and fluffy lilac towels which were gifted to me at last week's Breakfast in Bed event. Thank you, Style at Home!!

Almost at the finish line, and not a moment too soon!! Once I wrap up a few of these final projects I'm off to Paris for a little vacay...oh, did I not mention that? I'm super excited!! Details soon ;-)