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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Decorexis

Have you heard of Decorexis?  I hadn't until I was flipping through a magazine and happened upon an article about this new modern affliction.  Apparently, symptoms include obsessive foofing, insistence on achieving the perfect decor, and refusal to invite friends over because the throw pillows don't work on the dated, tired looking couch.  Oh no!   I think I have Decorexis!  As I was decorating the Christmas tree, I began to feel a tad embarassed at my motley collection of vintage ornaments.  I soon realized to my chagrin that it was simply not possible to achieve a chic, colour coordinated tree with ornaments gathered over time.  With greater and greater gloom, I looked at photographs of staggeringly beautiful Christmas trees and wondrously decorated homes and thought to myself that my tarnished vintage ornaments and other hand me down pieces could never hold up to such loveliness. 

 Never mind, I consoled myself.  Up onto the tree they go in all of their tarnished, mottled glory.

What matters is the memory of wrapping up warmly, going to the tree lot with a loved one, picking out the perfect one, all the while rubbing one's hands and stamping one's feet against the cold, the precarious, exciting ride home with the tree, and the careful setting up of the tree so that it stands up straight and proud while the room fills with the invigorating scent of pine.   Decorating it with old ornaments that only see the light of day once a year is like visiting with rarely seen good friends.

And, of course, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without jolly Santas.

Or, for that matter, angels, even if their wings are a bit askew and crumpled from being played with too many times.

Wishing all of my lovely readers and friends a Wonderful and Joyous Christmas!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Deck The Halls

One of the aspects I love about Christmas is revisiting the "old" and seeing it with new, delighted eyes.  By that, I mean the ceremony of unpacking old, beloved decorations and, with the appropriate gravitas, arranging and rearranging them.  There is something magical about pulling aside layers of tissue and then unveiling a treasure trove of glitter and sparkle, especially at this time of year.

And I must declare an overwhelming fondness for jingle bells at any time of the year.

Of course, displaying little vintage wooden toys is perfectly acceptable at Christmas time, even if one is well beyond the age when whirling toys brought hours of amusement.  Admittedly, they still do.

Even though the days are shorter now and darkness falls swiftly, there is a delight in turning on twinkling lights and watching the reflected glow.

House and home is transformed into a winter wonderland.

All that is needed now is the company of loved ones.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Snow Queen

With a certain degree of humility, I admit that I am a scaredy cat when it comes to spiders, creepy-crawlies and other forms of life with multitudinous legs, eyes and antennae.  What does this have to do home decor?  Well, there is a secondhand shop that I was curious to pay a visit.  The shop is a hoarder's dream or a hoarding nightmare, depending on which side of the fence one happens to be standing.  It was a home that had been turned into a junkshop.  There was scant lighting and, when I reached out to turn on some lights, I found that the switches were broken.  Items were perched precariously on top of each other right to the ceiling.  I could make out the vague forms of couches, coffee table and dining table under the mountainous mounds of clutter.  I attempted to pull out a vase piled several feet high on the couch and started an avalanche of junk towards me.  Horrified at the thought of my early demise buried under a landslide of dusty junk, I shoved the vase back with one hand and stopped the avalanche with the other hand.  Defeated and not a little unnerved by the cobwebs festooning the ceiling, I backed away.  Luckily, this tale ends happily as I spied a milk glass vase under the dining table.  I hugged it to me for dear life and ran for the door as if Cerberus was nipping at my feet.

I must say that this vase is quickly becoming a favourite of mine.  A half hour spent scraping off 60 years worth of dirt and the vase now glows in all of its snowy, queenly glory.  The opaque milkiness goes with any colour scheme and the clean Art Deco lines still look modern and fresh.

Best of all, the milky whiteness segues neatly into the frosty, silvery tones that I tend towards as the days grow colder and Christmas draws ever closer.

There is nothing like being surprised with a bunch of flowers from a certain someone, "just because", and the tall purple blooms with their white centers are the perfect counterfoil to the vase and to other twinkly delights.

There is nothing like thoughtful, kind deeds done "just because" and for which I am very grateful.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Vintage in the Kitchen

I do love the idea of being a master chef and domestic goddess in the kitchen.  Sadly, the execution rarely lives up to the dream.  Many's the time I stared in shock and horror at burnt pots, reeled backwards blinded by spiraling columns of smoke, poked in dismay at cakes that were inadvertently molten within, crispy without.  Thus, I turn to vintage kitchen ware for inspiration.  I think of all the wonderful cooks who prepared meals for their families over the years using the same tools and hope that a little of that knowledge will somehow wend it's way to me.

A kitchen isn't complete without a vintage Mr. Rooster and his wife to oversee meal production.

And of course a vintage recipe card box filled with carefully composed, tried, true and tested family recipes is a necessity.  I am a little embarrassed to admit I'm a bit old fashioned in certain areas and still like to handwrite recipes on index cards.  It took many, many years for me to wrest my mother's pancake recipe from her and now it is faithfully recorded and stored in the recipe box.  Do you have any family recipes that have been handed down through the generations?

In fact, a flock of roosters serving up an apple a day (to keep the doctor away) is just the thing.

I still dream of swanning about the kitchen, serving up delicious meals in a state of graceful composure.  Until then, I will sip my tea from a vintage mug and be inspired by meals long since eaten and welcoming family gatherings of yesteryear.

I was featured on Knick of Time. Thanks so much!  Click here to read my featured post, Orange Days.  Angie is hosting a fabulous giveaway...be sure to check out her blog!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Orange Days

Autumn is a time of grateful harvest.  And at this time of year, the colour orange makes its sudden appearance everywhere, most notably in the form of pumpkins.  I have always had an uneasy relationship with this colour but I am slowly warming up to it's irresistible cheerfulness.  When it comes in the form of clementines and not just any kind of clementine but the most darling of clementines, then I can do nothing but succumb.

Of course, a pie pumpkin, radiating cheerfulness in its squat roundness, is perfect as a paperweight.

One's imagination can't help but take flight when darling clementines and winsomely chubby pumpkins are paired with aqua vintage typewriters.

Autumn is a time to down tools and take a well deserved rest, as well.  What could be more inspirational during the long winter months than to contemplate aged tools with a hard won patina derived from years of honest labour?

Orange makes its appearance again in the russet orange and burnt sienna of corn kernels.

So bring on these slowly lengthening days of coolness and bountiful harvest and let me punctuate them with bursts of gladsome orange.

I am linking up to House of Hepworth, My Romantic Home, At the Picket Fence, Serenity NowThe Charm of Home, Common Ground, French Country Cottage, A Stroll Thru Life, Knick of Time.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Change of Hue

Seasons change.  And with this inevitable cycle, people change too.  The best kind of change is when a kindred spirit appears in one's life and one begins to see the world in a different light.  For example, I have long tended towards the cooler hues such as blue and white.  But Monsieur is particularly partial towards what I call Autumnal hues.  He did not realize that I had noted his increasing concern that never the twain would meet.  So to demonstrate that these two seemingly diametrically opposed colour palettes could not only co-exist in a state of harmony but produce something uniquely pleasing to the eye, I went in search of something, je ne sais quoi.  Then, I saw these cushions, known as the Embroidered Stem Cushions from Chapters, and knew that I had found the answer.

I am happy to report that Monsieur approved of the cushions and agreed wholeheartedly that the mustard yellow was an unexpected counterpoint to my beloved blue.

But more than anything, I think he was relieved that his particular views had found a place within L'Heure Bleue At Home.  I looked around L'Heure Bleue At Home and saw that his effect had rippled outwards from within and began to appreciate what I had only glanced at with a certain degree of doubt and hesitancy.

There was a particular Art Deco vase which I had pushed unceremoniously to the back of a shelf as I was, as yet, undecided as to whether it was to my liking.  But Monsieur's eyes lit up when he saw it and asked, "Why have you hidden it?  Why not bring it forward for all to see?"  Why not indeed?

So now, where once my eyes were blinkered, I see burnt sienna, ochres and warm mustard. And they make the blues and whites that I love bluer than blue, whiter than white.

I see the world through another's eyes and the length, depth and breadth of my world is changed, irrevocably.  And in this season of thanks, all I can say is, "Thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you."


Monday, 26 September 2011

Industrial Chic in the Autumn

Industrial chic is a term that has been much bandied about of late.  While I have never been one to adhere blindly to the current trend or fad, I confess that I have fallen victim to it's appeal especially when there is a deliberate collision between the hard and the soft.  There is a neighbourhood nearby that has a yearly community yard sale as part of a general neighbourhood festival.  The main street is cordoned off so that one is forced to park at a distance and then walk.  Monsieur, who had never attended, was kind enough to accompany me.  I saw this rusty, crusty, fireplace grate plonked unceremoniously in a drive way and was captivated immediately by its aged charm. 

Monsieur was even more captivated and decided that he had to have it.  I, however, after trying to lift a corner of it above the pavement and being unable to budge it by even one percent of a millimeter, voiced strong doubts. 

Do you know how wonderful it is to have a co-conspirator who indulges my whims and fancies?  Monsieur is just such a one.  I, whilst appreciating Monsieur's enthusiasm, wished very much for my co-conspirator to remain up right rather than prostrate, bent into a U-shape for the rest of his days, from the Herculean effort of hauling what amounted to two metric tonnes of cast iron to the car which was parked many, many blocks away and so laughed with incredulity at the confident suggestion that transportation would be a breeze.

But Monsieur would not be gainsayed and after a certain amount of strategic negotiating on Monsieur's part, $30 exchanged hands. The owner very kindly gave us a trolley with the proviso that it was "garbage" and the wheels "don't work."  He was right.  After 10 steps, the plastic wheels and spokes gave up the ghost from their crushing burden and everything swayed precariously to one side, nearly crushing us as well.

Monsieur ended up carrying it the rest of the way.  I will not describe this feat except to say that I witnessed the impossible.  I am not sure whether to applaud his stubborn determination, kiss him for recklessly indulging my fancies, be a little less vocal in the future in my admiration of heavy objects, or request that his head be examined.

So now, here it sits front and center, proudly crowned with Autumn's harvest and wreathed in the Autumnal colours that are Monsieur's favourites.

Every day, Monsieur's admiration for the grate grows and grows doubtless in part because it bears testament to man's triumph over metal.  And I admit that my admiration for his heart felt enthusiasm and never ending support grows daily as well.

Jann at A Daily Cup From Mrs. Olson  awarded me a Versatile Blogger Award.

Thank you so very much.  I have to share 7 things about myself which are as follows:
1) I drink a cup of green tea every morning.  It is a little ritual that helps me get started with my day.
2) I like learning new things.
3) I am acknowledged to be a slow eater but, when it comes to Monsieur's cooking, I can polish off my   plate quite speedily.
4) I adore furbabies.
5) I am a dreamer yet have a practical side.
6) One of my best friends has been my friend since we were in Grade One.
7) I buy a newspaper once a week just for the weekly TV listings insert.  

I am supposed to pass the award on to 10 other bloggers who are as follows:

 All of them are wonderful blogs. Please take a peek!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Morning Glory

Long weekends make everything and nothing possible.  One can do whatever one desires or one can do nothing at all.  That is the beauty of the long weekend.  And what could be better than Labour Day long weekend to dally in bed a little longer and delight in breakfast whilst reclining grandly against sumptuous pillows and contemplating doing nothing particularly laborious?

There is something so wonderfully decadent about breakfast in bed.  The day patiently awaits one's pleasure.

Or rather, the entire world can wait as one bites in a buttery croissant.

Any day is perfect if one can start by inhaling the scent of a perfect white rose.

The frosty tartness of lemonade with floating slices of lemon reminds one of the golden days of Summer.

The morning dawns glorious when a loved one asks, "Would you like breakfast in bed?" and that touch of loving kindness suffuses the rest of the day, as it should.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Golden Days

Summer is a time of endless possibility with its long sun drenched days.  And, as Summer draws to a close, I long to capture those golden hours to light my way during the coming Autumnal time.  As luck would have it, Monsieur and I were strolling through a favourite store, Anthropologie, during one such sunshine day when Monsieur's keen eye spotted the Helianthus Goblet in amber.  Monsieur very kindly acquired a set of four for what could be more delightful than to toast life with tokens of golden amber?

Or better yet, to greet the day looking into the face of a loved one, toasting life together.

Now I see threads of the sun winding their way through my home, leading me back to those laughter filled days of promise.

Little bursts of the sun glowing around L'Heure Bleue At Home.

And now when I see those little bursts of the sun, they spark a matching, glowing sun in me filled with memories of golden, heart glad, moments suspended forever in time.

Do you have favourite summertime memories?  Please share them with me so that we can warm our hearts together.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Cooking With Love

I have discovered something so powerful, so transformative that I wonder that I was blind to it for so long.  Let me backtrack a little and explain.  Recently, I did some renovating in my kitchen and dining room.  I agonized over light features, sinks and countertops.  I fussed over paint chips and the perfect finishing touches.   I replaced all the tired appliances in my kitchen with whizzy new ones with a bewildering array of features.  In fact, the features were so bewildering that I dared not use them!  Monsieur, however, took up the challenge and treated me to a culinary feast that would have impressed a Roman emperor.  The day started off on a lovely note with a bouquet of perfect blooms.  You will notice that the roses are not quite red and not quite pink but that eyecatching union of the two.  Now, I know that a red rose signals passion and a pink rose signals love so for the twain to meet in perfect harmony in the velvety petals of a rose, what better opening act could there be than that?  But there was more to follow.   Monsieur prepared tartines of Chaource cheese which is a wonderfully rich cow's milk cheese made of triple cream, an earthy pork pate and slices of baguette.

All the while, this Muscovy duck, stuffed with oranges and  farmer's sausage was roasting away.

Fingerling potatoes and shallots finished off by roasting them in duck fat.

The piece de resistance was dressed with a Concord grape reduction made with white wine and pan juices.  The tart sweetness of the grapes were an unexpected counterpoint to the richness of the duck. 

Only the best china for Monsieur's efforts so everything was served of course on Wedgwood china.

There is one other ingredient to this feast of culinary delight which lifted this meal from the extraordinary to the sublime and will, I guarantee, do the same for any meal.  It is that it was done with an abundance of love.

So what was my wondrous discovery?  That all the renovating and decorating in the world counts for nothing without that missing "X Factor", loved ones living, loving and laughing, transforming a house into a home.

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