Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dreaming of Paris....

Two years ago for an anniversary celebration, my husband and I flew to Paris to celebrate. It was our second trip to this beautiful place and we decided to spend four days in Paris and then travel to Bordeaux for some wine tasting.

There are so many beautiful images of The City of Lights, mine just do not do it justice, as most of them were taken from the tour buses that navigate the city.

The landmark department store, Au Printemps.

...and not to be missed, some Christian Laboutin shoes....

This beautiful, rather baroque looking interior, was in a restaurant not far from our hotel on the Champs Elysee.

Vintage French and velvet overkill at it's best!

Still, I found it charming.

...and of course hidden little gems to be discoverd, like this tiny flower shop.

What made me stop immediately and go inside was that they sold my favourite plant...

Maidenhair ferns... here... in Paris, just like the ones in my garden!!

The interior was so special and more charming than the outside...

A tiny little cubby hole of a shop, full of character....look at the stone walls...
and stone, mosaic floor....

So beautiful!

I wasn't blogging then, so I don't have many detail pictures, which I surely would have taken!

...and here my obliging husband, at Laduree sipping his beer, while I enjoy my macarons and cafe!

This is my very "pedestrian" approach to Paris.  My dear friend Jermaine, from the beautiful blog French Kissed is hosting two trips to Paris this spring. They promise to be exquisite. As she so knowingly admitted, blogging has a way of opening doors for us that we never anticipated.  It is up to us to decide which ones we wish to walk through. Simply, the wonderful bonds and friendships which are undeniable through blogging are gifts enough, but when other magic happens for us, let the magic begin!

Please be sure and visit Jermaine at her blog French Kissed for all the delicious details!




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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oh Happy Day!!!

Today we celebrated the much anticipated arrival of Oliver Alexander, the new baby grandson of close friends, Alex and Susan. The first child of their eldest daughter Sarah and husband Bryce. It was a joyous occasion and also the first boy to arrive into their family! For the flowers I decided on a nest theme as centerpieces for the tables.

I elevated the nests on glass pedestal plates.

Because the parents chose to be surprised and not know whether the baby was a boy or girl prior to the delivery, I decided on anemones in jewel tones for the flowers.

Soft green hydrangeas as well as moss and sticks worked well with the tiny wax flower and blue anemones, keeping the look soft and natural.

As a little gesture of thanks, small bird cookies, dipped in white chocolate and embellished with pearl dragees, finished off the centerpieces.We used shredded kraft to nestle the treats in their cello bag, finished off with a soft green satin ribbon.

Confections by M.A.M Gourmet, my sister Micki.

Melt in your mouth goodness!!!


I love coming together at times such as this, where we bond as friends and mothers in the nurturing of our families and nests.... in celebration of a new life about to begin.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

January...Nurturing our spirit.

January seems to be the month that I fall into a hibernation type of mode! Fresh from the warm glow of Christmas, I welcome the month with the blanket of snow on every tree and shrub in my garden. It is my time to burrow and furrow, and enjoy the warmth of my fireplace and comforts of home, we are so fortunate to have. It is also the time for me to nurture my spirit and renew my energy, much like the garden does.

Ways I attempt to do so.... the garden and nature. It is my greatest source of inspiration, and never fails to amaze me with its power and beauty. It has saved me many times...

I translate it's beauty in many ways through out my home, both in colour and decor, and the natural images it conveys.....

Peonies from last summer....I move  from window to window in the winter months, peeking out to check on any activity going on out there, in anticipation of what is to come...

Tea. I love tea, how it warms me up, helps me to sort things out and increases my thought process....surely a way to nurture ones soul!
The entire process, from brewing to presentation to sipping, is just so satisfying....and all the special, little simple or extravagant touches that can be added......spirit lifting!

Projects on the loom or still in the thinking process, are very nurturing for me during winter. I currently have two quilts, a mohair shrug and a few other little works in progress. A little overzealous!! As well as an interior renovation beginning in July. I must remember that January is MY time to renew.

A vintage cake dome I embellished with a small china figure, hand made lace draping application. I so admire the delicate and intricate work that someone applied to nurture their soul.....

A small vintage button.....very old and with my maiden name initial  D. My family, my roots and all the history associated with my family, both in Italy and here in Canada nurtures me every day.


BFF's. From my sister to all my BFF's.....I listen and share and support them, as they do me.  I couldn't survive without them for lifting me up and enduring all my little trials and troubles throughout my life.  I love them all. Nurturing me everyday.

Cooking good wholesome food for my family. I am surrounded by the bounty of Niagara. Food, farm to table, so fortunate to have the bounty of fruit orchards, vineyards and good organic small growers at my fingertips. Above, one of my favourite celebrity chefs, Laura Calder, Canadian, so down to earth and wonderful sense of humour. I agree with her cooking philosophy and presentations. I aspire to cook as she does!

A Black Forest Trifle I made this past Christmas Eve.  I think I nurtured others as well as myself after this piece of work!!!  A first time effort that turned out. I am notorious for not doing a trial test of recipes first before I serve!  My sister Micki just shudders!

Cod baked with a sauce of baby sundried tomatoes,onions and capers served Christmas Eve, as well as baked salmon, simply baked and served with creme fraiche and a bit of freshly grated horseradish. Cooking for my family and friends is nurturing.

A clean slate or new project, whether for the garden, wedding or home decor is very nurturing to me.  I love the anticipation of a beautiful process about to begin. But ultimately I approach everything as a task to be completed.  This is the strong work ethic I had ingrained in me as a child by my Mom. The prospect of the finished product is very satisfying and at the same time nurturing....

In January I dream of the prospect of what is to come. The seasons in the garden, the projects I hope to begin and finish....the advent of a new, renovated home and most of all the hope of health and happiness for the year ahead. To me the tranquility and quietude of winter is what we need to lay plans for the busy days ahead. Sharing my thoughts on nurturing the spirit this beautiful, snowy January day!!

This photo is courtesy of my BFF Cheryle, which clearly illustrates
the quiet beauty of a snowy January in Canada.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wood Moss

It is hard to believe that this is January in Canada this year!! The pachysandra ground cover is full and green
and no snow cover of any description as of yet!! But best of all the moss covering on the garden is a beautiful shade of green and thick and lush....

The small pond and stream has some water in it from the heavy rains....yes....rains yesterday, and looks very much like it does in early Spring....quite unusual for this time of year......

The moss on the lower terrace has never looked this good in January....like a carpet.....I took this pic yesterday!!!!!

Large rocks from our woods, which comprise the small waterfall in a section of the man made stream, are covered in moss and looking very green from all the rain.  We drain the stream and small ponds to prevent frost damage and heaving in the winter. Although it is over thirty years that the garden was begun, it is holding up fairly well with just a few cracks which had to be repaired...

Here you can see the moss carpet on the lower terrace in the summer.  It has taken this long to establish!  I am so particular about its care that I don't allow any leaf blowers near or on it!!! Because of the near perfect conditions of our surroundings, shade and cool temperatures, with filtered light, the moss and lichens have added that natural touch to the garden which I am so grateful for.....

The rocks which make up a portion of the garden were collected from our woods, by my husband and his uncle Bert. He was a tool and dye maker and fashioned a contraption for lifting the heavy stones and then bringing them into the garden. It was truly a labour of love, and his assistance was invaluable. He will always be a large part of the memories and story behind its design.

The upper pool and waterfall drained of water in the winter.......still beautiful and so natural......

Another peek at the lower terrace in the summer.  The moss always looks best after a light rain.  I have read in many gardening books, about recipes of manure tea, beer and buttermilk mixtures to encourage moss to grow. Happily, I am blessed with it through no effort on my part, just a little patience, which any gardener must have much of !!!!

A small bacony off the dining room, holds more moss in a zinc lantern which I have adapted as a planter, and the small shoe also holding a small pot of club moss. I try to be true to the direction which my garden has taken me, although I have grown roses and other delicate flowers, my garden has a mind of its own!!!

More club moss on a small stone column on the terrace....you can see how the planter is acquiring a lovely mossy patina.....not a bit of help from me......

This very old garden ornament has acquired, again its own patina, and is sitting on moss covered flagstones...

......The lower terrace in early spring..........with a distant view of the south garden, the only area with lawn that does well!!!

In the center of this photo, you can see the moss covered stone bridge ,which crosses the stream to another small flagstone terrace.....I try to extend the boundaries of the formal garden into the woods, seamlessly....

A very good view of the lower terrace and how patiently I have waited for the green carpet to arrive here.....

.......the stone bridge at its best.....the stream leads to the main pond in the garden, which is bordered by hostas and hydrangeas and peonies, and box.....

......again the lower terrace in early spring, you can see the hydrangeas in the forground, just sprouting, as well as roses with my favourite anchoring shrubs....boxwood....and of course hostas....but its winter!!!! and here I am going on about gardening......sorry!

I always bring the moss indoors as well.... in a vintage English planter with maiden hair ferns, which pair so well with it...


...and here, this last Christmas I purchased some frosty fern to bring indoors, reminding me of moss....
It is hard to imagine that all that green goodness is going on under here....asleep and revitalizing itself
 to put on a verdant show soon....
The moss in my garden has been a deciding factor
in its growth and development over the years, as well as its natural beauty.
Hope you have enjoyed a touch of green today!


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