A Day at the Spa

Do you like going to the spa?

Being personally pampered and indulged in all things comforting, calming and relaxing.  Totally therapeutic – right?

I had a few girlfriends ask if I would like to join them for a day at the spa during my week of ‘stay-cation’.

I declined.

I am not a spa girl.

A Day at the Spa

For me my ‘therapy’ is visual.  I would rather spend a day strolling about just looking and seeing.

Often that ‘looking’ involves retail, admiring window displays and set designs that constantly change to reflect colour and trends.  I love to visit art galleries and see the beauty there.  I like to walk about different neighborhoods admiring homes.  I enjoy walking around downtown viewing the architecture of commercial buildings, skyscrapers – both historical and modern. 

I have come to realize that I am not a ‘spa’ girl but rather I am a ‘spatial’ girl! 

Here is what I saw while on my stay-cation. 

An early morning walk to Lake Ontario revealed a scene of tranquil beauty. 

Lake Ontario Toronto

This home renovation made me smile with its colourful plywood framing.

Plywood stained boards

The beautiful blue skies made St James Cathedral seem even more magnificent.

St James Cathedral

I thought this was really cool how the glass building seemed to disappear into the blue sky!

Clouds reflecting in window

Of course a visit to the AGO is always a must even if it was to just appreciate the Henry Moore sculpture on the outside of the gallery.

Henry Moore AGO

The cantilevered portion of the OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) building in downtown Toronto always makes me pause.  And look….there’s the CN Tower peeking through!


The view from the floor to ceiling windows atop the Sheraton Centre is a great place to get a view of downtown Toronto.

Sheraton Centre, Toronto

Last week I had a wonderful stay-cation in Toronto seeing all the sites and visiting with family and friends.

All images via Modmissy excluding spa photo: www.blog.invitationbox.com




The Winter Blues

With the February blahs behind us and almost mid-way into March I find I am craving for colour.

Next week is school break for our household.  My boys head off to the Rockies for a week of skiing and I am staying home; a stay-cation as I like to call it.

I prefer to set my sights on somewhere warm and colourful.

This photo I took last summer is a retrospect in blues and a reminder that Lake Ontario located at the end of my street can sometimes look like a ‘tropical’ getaway.

So until I book that ‘colourful’ getaway I will just have to imagine.

Feeling the Winter Blues


Have a great weekend!

Image via Modmissy

Religion in Décor

Tomorrow, February 28th, Pope Benedict XVI officially retires.  Since his surprise announcement to the world indicating he would be the first Pope in 6 centuries to retire the world has been in a bit of a ‘holy mess’!

I can’t say that I blame him; Pope Benedict is 85 years old!  I think the man must be feeling a little weary.  While the rest of us are hoping to retire at 65 years old or ‘freedom 55’ (if we are lucky enough) still working as an octogenarian must be exhausting.

Today in honour of His Papal-ness I thought religion in décor would be fitting.

The focal point in this room is a very large Buddha.  Fortunately it is seated upon the window seat as I read that inappropriate placement of the Buddha i.e. on the floor, is considered a sign of disrespect in many Buddhist cultures.



In this photo religion in décor is taken one step further!

religious stairs


The Moravian Star has become a popular décor feature.  Originating in the 1830’s at the Moravian Boys’ School in Germany (possibly from a geometry lesson) the star was adopted by the Moravian Church as an Advent Symbol and also now commonly used in light fixtures.

Moravian Star Light


Often used interchangeably due to the fact that the population of Morocco is almost 99% Muslim is Moroccan-inspired/Islamic-inspired décor.  Seen in everything from wallpaper (1st photo) to furniture and light fixtures (2nd photo) to leather poufs (3rd photo).

Moroccan-inspired decor


Belief in angels is fundamental to many religions.

Angel wings in decor

And what better way to incorporate religion into décor than converting a church into a residence.  This photo is a converted church in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Church as residence


Images via: 1,2,5,7 www.houzz.com 3 www.shadesoflight.com; 4 www.phillipjeffries.com 6 www.thecrossdesign.com 8 www.zecc.nl



AGO 1st Thursdays

Last Thursday evening I attended 1st Thursdays at the AGO – a very happening ‘art-y’ party!

On the first Thursday of every month the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) closes its doors and lets the party begin.

1st Thursdays at AGODesigned to engage and entertain the 19+ crowd (alcohol is served!) 1st Thursdays are interactive art nights that feature performances, art-making activities (free nude life drawing and yarn bombing to name a few) artist and curator tours, talks and live events allowing people to see, make, do and hear as much art as they can.  The evenings theme, City Scrawl: Urban Intersections, was to bring Toronto’s diverse cityscape inside the AGO for one night.

Of course there were DJ’s spinning tunes throughout the gallery getting the sold-out crowd  in the groove.

Spinning tunes at the AGO


No party is complete without food and drinks so pop-up bars located in various areas provided signature cocktails and food. The Galleria Italia before and after!

Galleria Italia   Galleria Italia 1st Thursdays

At the Wheatpasting Workshop the evening’s theme ‘Urban Intersections’ challenged the idea of city and space through the practice of street postering creating collaborative murals that are appreciated as street art.

photo (21)

AGO - Wheatpasting Workshop  AGO Wheatpasting Workshop

It was a fabulous night, lots of fun and a whole new way to see the AGO.  Check out the website http://www.ago.net/1stThursdays and consider booking a 1st Thursday event.

All images via Modmissy




My Mother

My Mother.

Affectionately known as ‘Nornie’ to her close friends and family.

My Mother was an identical twin and as close as 2 peas in a pod but my Mother was also one-of-a-kind.



It was from my Mom that I got my sense of design and love of décor.  My Mom had a passion for decorating and keeping a beautiful home.

In my parents very first home my Mom painted the living room’s 5th wall (ceiling) red to coordinate with her new crimson red curved sofa.  Ground-breaking.

When my Mom was expecting their first child my parents moved to the suburbs – a larger home for their 4 children (born within the next 5 years) and more space for my Mom to decorate.

When we were very young my Mom enrolled in night school to take an interior decorating course.  I remember my Mom’s design boards with little swatches of fabric, carpet and paint.  She loved attending this course even if it meant leaving my Father at home with 4 small children – and even if it resulted in my Father doing a quick trip to the hospital emergency unit with my brother who needed stitches after falling on the fireplace hearth!

My Family

My Mom made her design choices slowly and meticulously.  Whether it was the fabric choice for the new sofa or drapery, the shape of the custom built kitchen table, the pattern of the wallpaper for the new feature wall or the paint colour of the garage door, my Mom made her decisions carefully.  Mom decorated on a budget but her home indicated otherwise.

My Mom was aware of trends and the latest in décor but chose the classics.  I grew up with mahogany, wools, silks, cotton damask, Louis XlV and gilded furniture.  Mom took me shopping to fine furniture stores like Eaton’ s Gallery of Fine Furniture, we visited art galleries and she taught me how to identify different fabrics.

I fondly remember my Father every few years saying to my Mom, “Well Nornie, it’s time for a new car, what colour shall I order?”  My Mom liked to coordinate the car with the colour of our home’s exterior!

Unfortunately my Mother never met any of her 11 grandchildren or got to retire with my Father.  And she never got the pleasure of helping her children decorate their homes.

Twenty-seven years ago today my Mother lost her battle with Cancer.

I miss you Mom.



Jeff Goodman Studio – Open House and Sale

I would like to share an invitation with you if you happen to be in the Toronto area this Friday and Saturday, December 7th and 8th.

The Jeff Goodman Studio www.jeffgoodmanstudio.com has its annual Open House and Sale where you can enjoy live demonstrations of spectacular glass blowing in their newly expanded 4,000 sq. ft. studio.  Meet the creative team and witness their stunning work of blown and cast glass.

I love this year’s invitation with the ‘juicy’ colours of blown glass vessels.

So drop by if you can, it promises to be a colourful event!

See you there.

Jeff Goodman Studio

Woman lll – Willem De Kooning

On the list of “The 10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold”, is Willem de Kooning’s Woman lll. In a private sale in 2006 Woman lll sold for $137.5 million dollars!

Willem de Kooning (April 24, 1904 – March 19, 1997) was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist that painted in a style that came to be referred to as Abstract expressionism or Action painting.

With aggressive brushwork, blatant imagery and strategically placed high-key colors, Woman lll created a sensation when it was first shown in the early 1950’s.

This piece of art still creates a sensation in both subject and wonderful colour.

Willem De Kooning Woman lll Colour Palette

Image via Modmissy

One of a Kind Show

I attended the One of a Kind Show on opening day – fabulous!

I hate to admit how long I was there for (6 hours!!) but there were so many great things to see, beautiful things to buy and over 800 talented artisans to meet.

The One of a Kind show first started in 1975 and is the largest consumer craft show in North America.  Everything sold at the show is made by hand in North America by Canadian and/or American artisans.

This year’s show had a real ‘bringing back the cottage’ vibe with a lot of natural, organic and re-purposed designs.

Here were some of my favourites.

Tremblay Mills www.peppermilltremblay.com  had beautiful salt and pepper mills.  Made with original materials (mill on right is made from the banksia nut) and vibrant colours these works of art give a whole new meaning to ‘Seasons’ Greetings!

Cedar Mountain Studios  www.cedarmountainstudios.com creates wall art from reclaimed cedar boards.  In their backyard studio a team of nine artists, 2 dogs and 1 cat design and build pieces that will make you stop, read, ponder and laugh.

The Identity Apparel Co. http://www.identitytees.ca had a colourful booth.  I love Hudson Bay point blankets and Identity has re-purposed them into pillows and totes.  Also knapsacks made from 1945 Swiss Army mess hall tents waxed canvas were very cool.

Industry keeps making the same thing over and over expecting a different result from us.

Imagine Woods www.imaginewood.com goal is to create new wooden tools that really work for you… like a curved spatula for round frying pans and one-handed salad tongs. The result is a line of Rock Maple kitchen utensils that are ambidextrous, beautiful, long lasting and most of all, useful. Brilliant!

Wineplanks www.wineplanks.com creates from recycled oak wine barrels unique serving trays, and candle holders.

And I love the undies at The Candi Factory www.candifactory.com.  Sweet!

Definitely a show worth checking out.

All images via Modmissy

Opposites Attract

On this day, November 16th 1959, The Sound of Music opened on Broadway and on November 16th 2001, the first Harry Potter movie opened.  Both were blockbusters.

Set in 2 completely different eras, one in the mid-20th century and the other in the 21st century.  Maria is governess to 7 children of a widower and Harry is an orphan.  Maria flies around the countryside singing to the mountains, while Harry flies on a broomstick.  If The Sound of Music were to open in theatres today we might find it dated and if Harry Potter had been viewed in the 1950’s it might have been too modern.  Yet Maria finds magic through the sound of music and Harry finds magic through wizardry.

Opposites attract.

Mixing of eras, mixing of styles.  But a connection exists.

And thus in décor the same happens.  The juxtaposition of modern with antique, contemporary with vintage, in some way there is a wonderful partnership.  Pieces that blend and contrast at the same time give interest to a room.

A modern fabric will ‘pop’ new life onto an antique settee.

The warmth of the wood of this antique desk pairs well with a modern chair producing an office space that makes one reflect.

The mixture of chairs all within the same colour palette combined with modern abstract paintings and an antique sideboard creates a cohesive dining room.

I love the mix of ornate old character and clean modern pieces in a contemporary white space.

The boldly patterned wallpaper provides the perfect background for mixing of styles in this entryway.

Whatever your style, whatever your preference – mix it up and create your own ‘blockbuster’.

All decor images via houzz.com

Floating Artist Studio

Continuing with yesterday’s post of living aboard a house boat I’ll now share with you a peek inside the owner’s floating artist studio.

In a house boat that was built over 25 years ago and now lovingly restored by its new owner a fabulous artist studio and retreat awaits a short walk away.

Under a very mod curved ceiling and vintage inspired wood built-in cabinetry the owner has set up her drafting table, cutting table and all the other necessities required for her passion – drawing, sketching and painting.

Who wouldn’t be inspired with the view out of the wrap-around sloped windows?

There is even a kitchen where snacks and refreshments are kept close to hand.

And I even had my sketch done!

Once again a big thank you to my host for sharing her home with me and all of you.

All images via Modmissy