Saturday, February 16, 2013

One of a Kind Coffee Table

I have suffered an advanced stage tooth abscess last weekend and let me tell you in case you didn't know, it can be a potentially serious threat to your health if not treated. I toughed out the pain since the dentist was closed until they opened Monday but should have gone to the emergency clinic as soon as my face started to swell. I just didn't realize that the infection could do things like cut off your breathing when you slept or  even worse cause heart problems if the bacteria went that way. 
After getting some antibiotics and taking a day off work to rest I'm at least out pain and able to chew again. I am scheduled for a root canal next week but am happy to be feeling better than I have in a couple of weeks.

Sooo let the long weekend begin!

I spotted this gorgeous coffee table at Restoration Hardware last weekend and it made me think of the stunning old door stored in our basement that we scored for $50.00 many moons ago. I believe I posted about it once before but sadly I recently lost the file of all my pictures I've ever posted on my blog and can't retrieve them so I can't be sure. 

If anyone knows how, please let me know, I would greatly appreciate it.

I have always loved the look of a larger coffee table with a rustic feel to it that says, come sit down, put your feet up, one that also has a place to spread out whatever you want on it to make your living room a multifunctional space. 

And here it is in all it's unique and stunning glory! It is half of a dutch door and what an amazing door it must have been in it's past life. I picture it coming from a luxurious horse stable.
I literally swoon when I look at this door with it's incredible cross design which nicely echoes the cross design on our side tables without them being a perfect match. Todd had previously started stripping it and never finished but I like it just as it is with the triangular recesses left with their old crackly paint.

I've got to figure out if there is a way to protect the wood without deepening the colour as 
I LOVE the colour of the natural wood.

and the reason why we didn't originally use this as a coffee table before is because I wanted my honey to have a nice cozy ottoman to put his feet on when he sits on the love seat to watch TV which meant there was only room for the smaller coffee table that is under the door.  Once it sat in place though, Todd said he was ok moving the ottoman to the other side of the room by the TV and it all looks and feels perfect to me. 


and we have these 8 amazing table legs kicking around that were given to Todd that we plan to use 4 of to replace the square legs of our kitchen table and I wondered if it was worth chopping them considerably for the legs of the coffee table.

We would have to cut off the bottom square part and then most of the top square part and I'm not sure I have the heart to do that when they are such amazing taller legs that would cost quite a bit to replace.
Maybe I can find shorter fatter legs that wouldn't be too expensive but if not we will have to improvise.

I also grabbed this Ralph Lauren coral pillow on a brief stop in Home Sense last weekend to see how a bit of colour feels in the space. Hopefully this weekend I can finally get to Designer Fabrics to get some pillow fabric samples and am still torn what direction to go but feel that I will find just what I'm looking for when I get there.

I hope you all have a great Family Day weekend!

Friday, February 8, 2013

SUPER Stock and Snow Day

It's supposed to snow all day, my honey has headed to work on his final day on another bathroom renovation in Bradford and I called in to work earlier to tell them I will head in once the roads are plowed. If I was ever in an accident and unconscious and didn't have immediate medical attention I could die without any additional hydrocortisone in my system so I don't like to take any chances. Growing up in the country did me the favour of learning how to drive on unplowed roads and as a result I am an excellent driver and  but it's the other guys I'm worried about. Then when I called back again to tell Tracey my coworker something I forgot to tell her earlier, she told me that my boss said "stay home"! 
Todd had cleared the snow off my car just one hour earlier as he thought I was going to work and here it is covered again.

So on this snowy Canadian winter day I thought I would make an amazingly healthy chicken stock. We had a roasted chicken for dinner last night and I actually had all the important ingredients on hand as well. As you know I'm loving my new cookbook that is gluten, dairy and soy free called "Nourishing Meals" by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. In the past  I have made my own chicken stock with some onions, carrots, celery added to a roasted chicken carcass and water but I don't think it was anything near what this stock will be as I was missing the key ingredient,  apple cider vinegar that does the job of extracting all the goodness from the bones. 
Further ingredients that I never added before that are immune boosting are parsley and garlic.

With literally no where to go today this is the perfect day to make this stock. 

1 chicken carcass (from a 3-4 lb chicken)
4 chicken wings (optional)
1 large onion, chopped
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1-2 leeks rinsed well and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley
few sprigs fresh rosemary and thyme
1 strip kombu or wakame
1 tsp black peppercorns
2-3 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt (optional)
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
12 - 14 cups water

Add all ingredients to an 8 quart stockpot and gently bring to a simmer. Make sure it is a gentle simmer on low or medium heat. Cook, covered, 3 - 6 hours. The longer cooking times will extract more nutrients and produce  a richer flavored stock.

Strain the stock and pour into glass jars. Once the jars are filled let them cool for 30 minutes, then freeze them uncovered. Once frozen you can screw the lid on. Doing this prevents the jars from cracking. If you plan on using the stock within a few days then refrigerate until ready to use.

Alissa writes, You can use the stock to make grains, soups, stews, mashed potatoes, sauces or basically anywhere a liquid is needed for a savory dish. To thaw quickly take a jar out of the freezer and put it in a pot of hot water.

A quote that Alissa and Tom included in their first cookbook which I recently acquired called "The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook" is absolutely so true and a reminder to us why we should look after the health of ourselves and our children to the best of our ability.

"When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, 
art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, 
wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.
  ~ Herophilus 300 BC

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cozying up the Kitchen and Solving the Microwave Dilemma

Not doing any major renovations leaves time to ponder the smaller things. As you may know we previously removed our 3'x5' kitchen island which seated 2-3 in favour of our table to seat four to six.  Although my honey preferred the island, with much prodding he gave in to me and I absolutely love it.  Half my night is spent in the kitchen cooking or doing the dishes during the winter and so I wanted to make it feel even cozier. 

Many people who have kitchens that they desperately want to renovate, endure poor lighting just as we had in our old kitchen you see here and it is not necessary. You can add under cabinet lighting that you can buy off the shelf of your local renovation store that plugs in to the nearest outlet for the most inexpensive solution and then you can do what I did and add lamps to any unused surface you can find. Although we have both task and ambient light in the kitchen all on dimmers, I wanted more lighting and ended up moving the living room lamps to our large deep window ledge and what a difference with how cozy they make the kitchen feel.  When they are turned on they actually provide some more privacy as well as the light blocks the view to the inside that the bamboo blinds don't.

The island housed the microwave and so  when we removed the island (which we sold for a great price on kijiji), the microwave ended up on this counter which you see from the front door which looked terrible. Although convenient, I truly hated looking at it each and every day.
Now we have our counter space back that we land our keys and cell phones on at the end of the day and also a place for something pretty to look at like one of my Mom's paintings.

I know it's a little large for the space and it will eventually get moved to a more appropriate area but for now I love seeing it every day. 


My honey came up with the superb idea to move the microwave to the basement stair landing built-ins in the opening that was originally designated for our bright blue ugly recycle bin.  You may know this but microwaving food destroys it's nutrients so we don't use it for any of our main cooking, just for the very occasional light reheating and my favourite, warming the plates. 
He added a shelf above and there ended up being just enough room for our convection toaster oven that was previously relegated to the basement since there was no where to put it in the kitchen. I don't mind taking one more step down now to reach the recycle bin that is now on the floor just to the left of the microwave and like not having to see the ugly blue bin.
 All we need to now is install a new plug in the right place and add a sheet of aluminum to the roof above the convection oven and the back wall behind it for protection from the heat and we will have a secondary cooking center just off the kitchen.
Oh and the large doors on either side are getting replaced under warranty as they seemed to have warped and look terrible.
Isn't it amazing how little things can make you happy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Little table and Framing the Past

We headed out today to Ikea this morning and then had plans to go downtown to Designer Fabrics but I was having one of my off days so we didn't get there after all which I'm disappointed about as I was really looking forward to it. We did take a quick trip over to Bayview Village mall after Ikea though to check out Restoration Hardware. I haven't been there in a long time but love there designs. It has changed quite a bit to a very monochromatic scheme of all natural textures and tones which is very very easy to live with.

Before I left the sun was shining and filling the dining room with gorgeous sunlight and so  I snapped a photo of this cute little table I found on Kijiji and picked up yesterday. It is the perfect size for this spot in the dining room. It's a darker stain than the dining room table so I will either have to strip it and stain it light or paint it and it will get some new knobs. Here it is with a special something sitting on top that I will tell you about later.

I did pick up a couple of baskets for the living room while we were at Ikea and when I got home I again cleared everything out that offended my eye and added a few more decorative items from my bathroom along with the baskets to the built-ins out.   I also removed all the various sized pictures and added these shell prints that were also from the bathroom and think it feels so much better to have the same size frames here. It's too bad I don't have four more of these but the frame sizes are perfect so I know I will find something else.

 I will have to keep my eyes open for  some more affordable items for the shelves as well.

 So we have  this great old built-in cupboard in our upstairs hallway that have 3 big solid wood drawers on the bottom. 

And when we first moved in I pulled out the bottom drawer to find this pretty pale green old wallpaper on the inside of it. So I sprayed the paper with water and carefully removed it to save for our records

 and would you look what I found beneath it, another layer of even older hand blocked wallpaper! Hand blocked means they would roll the ink onto the paper just the way you would stencil instead of it being manufactured by machines. What you are looking at above is actually what is left on the wall when I  carefully removed this paper which ended up coming off in pieces. It is extremely old and because it was so vibrant the ink transferred and stayed on the back wall as well. It has beautiful jewel tones of the most intense gorgeous red, and pretty greens and blues. I have kept the pieces I removed from the wall carefully wrapped in wax paper and between two pieces of glass stored away for probably 10 or more years now.

The reason the paper is inside the built-ins in the first place is because our house was renovated in 1915 and the built-ins were added then. This incredibly colourful paper would have been what the old hallway was decorated with. I can't even imagine how it looked but oh what a statement it must have made. Our entire home, walls and ceilings were wallpapered and the smooth horsehair plaster beneath the layers never ever saw a coat of paint. Back when I first found this wallpaper it I took it to the Markham museum and they told me it looked like it was a french paper. I still hope to find out exactly where it is from someday as I find it fascinating.

I tried to put the pieces back together of the original paper to make it look like the pattern left on the wall  but they just didn't go back together in any order that looked good with many gaps between them and so instead I cropped the picture of the pattern that was left on the wall  and had it printed at Staples for just $3.00 and put it in this frame I already had from Home Sense. 

I think it is very special and a unique paper that says our homes first home owners Janet Wilson Forrest was just as prideful of her home then as we are of it today. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Juicing and Baking

I can't believe it but it has been a quite a day and I have managed to squeeze a lot into it. Juicing, baking, grocery shopping, house cleaning and even got two loads of laundry done! I was up early on and started getting my vegies ready for our weekend juice. Each week I buy enough produce to ensure I can make about 4 cups of healthy green juice on the weekend. It is chock full of nutrients and helps you detox naturally and gently which I need badly since having severe hypothyroidism for 5 plus years, everything  slows down to a snails pace and your body doesn't detox due to your liver and other organs not working to full capacity. Sadly as a result I developed chemical sensitivities.  Add to that the damage to ones liver that happens when you are treated with radioactive iodine for thyroid cancer  and you can see why it is so important to do things that support detoxing.   

I use my stainless steel Ikea bowls all the time and fill one medium one with greens such as kale, or romain lettuce, parsley for blood purifying, cilantro for heavy metal removal, (I had previously tested high in both lead and mercury which are extremely damaging to the body)

Then I fill another bowl with cucumber, celery, an apple, a few carrots, a big chunk of peeled ginger, and  about 5 cloves of garlic

This juicer was given to me by my parents just after my cancer surgery and I have used it on and off over the years but I vow to stick with it this time. While everyone seems to be getting the terrible flu/virus thankfully neither of us have been sick all winter and perhaps this has something to do with it.

It is so funny, Emma goes bananas for vegies. I gave her some cooked cauliflower the other night and she choked it back like it was a raw steak.  She is such a vegie dog and so before I juice the garlic or ginger, she gets a little shot of juice in her bowl too and loves it.

Then for a kick I sprinkle in a bit of cayenne to boost the metabolism.

and add a scoop of each of these super immune boosting greens superfood and wheat grass 

It really is delicious, well as long as you like healthy food.

I have told you about Tom and Ali's amazing cookbook called Nourishing Meals and I have been testing it out but when I read there latest blog post about banana almond butter muffins that are flour, gluten and dairy free (also refined sugar free too) I just had to try making them. 
I had some leftover almond hazelnut butter in the fridge and decided to use it instead and added two more tablespoons of coconut flour as the hazelnut butter was a little runnier than almond butter.

and they are hands down a winner!
Since I can't eat dairy, I love spreading a little coconut oil on mine. 
I made a dozen and I think we got carried away with how good they are because this is all that is left.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

White Envy, Living Room Rehab

My friend Joanne and I are making a quick Ikea trip Monday for her to pick up some lights for her new wardrobe cabinetry she has just bought on sale. You see she has the great fortune of being able to convert an empty bedroom into her very own dressing room. What a lucky gal!!!!
Then we are going to head to Designer Fabrics for me to see if I can find my dream pillow fabrics for the living room.
I am going to be honest, I am struggling badly. You see, I pine for an all white space like these below with touches of soft colour or little pops of brighter colours and warm amber toned woods, a touch of a dark wood in minute moderation and white washed greys but my honey truly and absolutely loves the blue we have painted and when I tell him I love all white, accuses me of having a fear of colour. What a silly guy, doesn't he know that white IS a colour!
 I like the blue, really I do but a visit to a customers home recently where newly painted crisp white walls and bleached oak floors with deeper grey upholstered furniture literally took my breath away, and that was all that was in the space as she hadn't even finished her renovations yet!!! I had only ever seen a home like that in a magazine and I immediately felt a sense of such calm and peace and it was amazing. 

Just so beachy.

Unpretentiously pretty.

But this living room above has got to be my most favourite, as if the beach is just outside the door, or at least near by. If he would just let me.....

Amazing small space bedroom that lives large because of it's airy scheme

A happy place to catch a movie with the gang

I'm still torn but I think I'm going to try and find something like this gorgeous scheme  of fabrics at Designer Fabrics.
Wish me luck!!

Truly a dream kitchen

And as well as my serious dreaming of all white I was also becoming frustrated with how jumbled everything looked in our living room and took all the books and dark items off the built-ins and removed the dark end tables and the light stained coffeed table from the room. Then I added back only white or light accessories (which I don't really have enough of but used what I could find) and realized that the different sized  pictures bother me since the bookshelf openings are also not even and it feels too chaotic. The coloured pictures are also too busy for me visually. So my plan is to put the family photos in the hallway and reprint them in black and white and find some pretty prints for the picture rail in some light wood or greyed wood tones all the same size instead.  I would love to bring in a jute area rug but our girl has still had some pee mishaps on our back door rug and even on my kitchen runner which then get tossed in the wash but since I can't do that with a large area rug it is not going to happen until we are sure she is not going to go on it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cobi Ladner at Michael Penney's

Emma is once again loosing tons of hair again which is baffling us as we haven't changed a thing with  her diet to cause it and so my evenings after work once again start with vacuuming the entire house. So last night, inspite of an all day long headache after a gruellingly busy day at work, I was quite excited to hook up with my friend Joanne to go to Michael Penney's new store in Whitby to meet Cobi Ladner. 

Of course the one day I want to leave just a few minutes early so we could get there by 6pm my customer comes in 1 hour later than expected and puts me even later going out the door.

We arrived at 6:10 to find the store packed and I was so disappointed that this was my view of Cobi. We had to stand near the back door and every time the door opened with more people, the bells that were on the door rang and drowned out all that Cobi was saying which was too bad as I love her take on design.

Cobi answered a few questions people asked about design and herself and then everyone looked around Michael's new store which he has done a nice job of pulling together in such a short time.
He has a mix of found second hand pieces that have been repainted or refinished and new pieces along with great lamps, accessories, pillows, big chunky baskets,new upholstery and even my favourite, Dash and Albert rugs. There was little wiggle room and so I couldn't take many good pictures unfortunately.

I new I was going to be tempted to buy something but really wanted to save my spending for a trip to designer fabrics next week and so I waited in line for quite some time to purchase a set of $12.00 cotton napkins that were the perfect colour of turquoise and large enough to be used as tea towels. 
I had previously spied some stunning throws in shades of sand and sea that looked like cashmere but had no price tag on any of then and so when I got finally got to the cash I asked the price, the cashier who told me they were $49.00! They looked like they were worth a lot more.
I looked back at the long line behind me and told her I didn't want the towels after all and was going to go look at the throws again and had to loose my spot in line as a result.
At this point I knew Joanne just wanted to go as it was getting quite warm in the store and sadly since there was a no returns policy I didn't even get one of the throws but once I have chosen fabric for the pillows for our sofa I just might head back and get one of them. 

We finally nudged our way over to Cobi who was busy chatting with other people. I now wished I had stayed to try and talk with her or be able to hear what she was saying to others.
She really is one of my favourite design personalities and I wish her such great success with her new line.

I looked everywhere but didn't see any of Cobi's curtains or pillows which is what I really wanted to see and later on found tossed on the back of a chair away from where Cobi was standing, a ring of fabric swatches that a girl said were her curtain fabrics but that seemed to be all there was to see except for these gorgeous red lanterns from her accessories line.

All in all it was fun to get out on a week night to do something different but next time I'll be sure to arrive early!