Monday Blahs

It is Monday and oh how I long for the weekend again.  Even though Spring is on the way, there is still snow on the ground in Toronto and it is cold!

My weekend was quiet, but I did get a lot done around the house and that is always good!  On my trip to the grocery store I picked up some beautiful flowers – tulips and hydrangea – some of my favourite – and oh how they cheer my dreary Monday spirits!  The best $20 I spent all weekend.  And so amidst laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, sorting and organizing  – arranging flowers in vases and having fun taking pictures ranked high on the things l loved about my weekend!  And appreciating the flowers tonight when I got home from work – bonus!!

















Happy Monday!!



what does hope look like?

What does HOPE look like?

We so often think about Spring as the first sign of  hope – winter is over and it is time for new life to spring forth!

What does HOPE look like?

We live in a world where the word hope is bounced around with all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings attached to it.  Many not-for-profits use it on a regular basis talk about what can be – or what should be – or could be – I know – for I am one of those people  – I work for an international humanitarian organization. We care about the health and well being of millions of people in the developing world who do not have access to medical care.  We HOPE for better – we HOPE for justice – and we HOPE for equity – and we HOPE for goodness to overcome evil and for life to defeat death.  We hope for it because we believe it is possible and we care enough to fight for it for those who are vulnerable and cannot fight for themselves or do not have all that is necessary to make their voice heard.

So what does HOPE look like?  My father would speak about  FAITH-HOPE-and LOVE – with LOVE being the greatest of all three.  And then he would talk about – HOPE – being the glue that holds faith and love together – excuse the analogy – but he would say hope is like the peanut butter that holds the two slices of bread together –  keeping faith alive and love in action.  It makes so much sense – especially when I put it in the perspective of my day to day work – believing (faith) that life can be better for the disenfranchised – and working hard (love) to make it so because what stands in the middle of this belief and this work – is hope – hope that it can be so – hope that things can be different – hope that problems can be solved and solutions can be found – and that new ways of doing things can change the outcomes of old problems – hope that change can happen.  Although I speak from the viewpoint of my day to day work where I am knee deep (if not neck deep) into global humanitarian issues – this same principle can be applied to all areas of our lives.

Hope is the belief that although things can be grim – even downright bad – and yes – even evil – that somewhere in the midst of all that mess there is goodness  – there is light in the darkness – and there is the belief that good can overcome evil – with the expectation that there are better days ahead.

Hope is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen” or “grounds for believing something good may happen”.  So what does hope look like?

Hope looks like the tiny sprout of a tulip pushing its way through the dark and cold earth after a long winter spent frozen and buried beneath the ground.

Hope looks like a young child that is found in unbelievable circumstances – where life should not have survived.

Hope looks like every piece of art or any creative initiative that the human mind takes on – because the creative arts – and the art of creation makes hope tangible.  In creating we find ways out and ways up – in our thinking and in our living.

And hope knows that the sun is shining above the clouds when we find our ourselves in the dark dreariness of the storms in our lives.  For we know that the storms may exist for a time, but above the clouds the light shines bright.  That my friends is what hope looks like to me.

May we all celebrate HOPE this Spring – new beginnings – and a fresh start!  And may we also celebrate the strength we have gained through dark times and the faith we have held on to and the love that has grown as we have lived through the dark days of winter – for joy does come in the morning!

Sarah Richardson

I love Sarah Richardson and always look forward to her  shows on HGTV – Sarah 101 and Sarah’s House – right now only in Canada, but I have heard rumours that they are making their way into the US!  A couple of years ago Sarah filmed the renovation of her cottage.  I love the look and feel of it and so as we are hopeful for summer to come – (well lets be honest – we are hopeful spring will come as well) – I thought it would be inspiring to dream a bit about what it would be like to be at the cottage – and a beautiful cottage like Sarah Richardson’s cottage!

I love how she has stained the paneling a bleached tone – its beautiful – and doesn’t have the look of wood on wood on wood .  And every cosy home or cottage needs a table where people gather for food and conversation – and this one does not disappoint.  Love the fireplace – stone – all the way to the ceiling – beautiful.

I have to tell you – I met Sarah Richardson – and of course told her how much I loved her work.  She told me that she and Tommy, her side kick, were working on the cottage makeover – and when she revealed it – I felt like I had the inside scoop!  Well not really – but you know – its always fun to meet someone that you watch from afar and admire.  She was awarded the Top 40 Under 40 award in Toronto the same year that my boss James Fraser was awarded this honour and I had the privilege of being at the reception and of course forced James to introduce me.  So that is my story on Sarah Richardson. I met Brian Gluckstein once too – but that is for another blog post.  I fawned over him as well!

The rustic details – like the barn wood inset into the kitchen counter make this cottage unique and interesting!  And the candle lanterns – love it!

Four chairs in a circle – great conversation area – a great idea – what better place than in your summer cottage!


The living room is all windows – lots of light and great views of the lake – you can’t go wrong with that – this would be one of my favourite areas to sit and read a book !

The colours of cream and blue and green – all about bringing the outside in!


I’m ready to move in!   Love it – just beautiful!




Martha Stewart – Spring!!

I love the colours of Spring – yellow, purple and blue  – so fresh.  And when you put these colours together – they just exude joy and happiness.  And the flowers of Spring are so cheerful  –  tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinths – so very beautiful!

Thank you Martha Stewart for putting together these beautiful bouquets to help us usher in Spring!

Bathroom Thoughts

I know – not a great name for a post – but yes – I have thoughts about a facelift for my bathroom – and  I want to use wallpaper. So many choices – and there is always something interesting and new! I loved the samples from Michael Penny’s blog post (you can link to it on my blog roll – and I also posted some on my blog here as well).   I have been thinking about this for a long time – and just need to decide and do it!

I bought some wallpaper many years ago on sale for $5 a roll – can you imagine – and it is beautiful – but quite bold and bright.  Take a look at two different portions of the paper above and below.

As you can see it is very bold – but very beautiful.  I would only use it on the top half of the wall – and put bead board on the bottom half in a creamy white colour.

I also purchased a shower curtain on sale from Restoration Hardware when I was in NYC  before Christmas – an it would look great together with it.

It is a butter cream yellow colour – I love the texture of it.

It could look fabulous – but is it what I really want – and should I go ahead with it because it is inexpensive – and because I have it?

My mother decorated many a room choosing what was on sale – stretching the dollar and making what was affordable look amazing.  She really knew how to make the dollar go a long way.

But it costs time and energy to make this happen – so should I go ahead with what I have or look around and see what else might be out there that might be more current.  I guess the question is – what is current?   I think you can take something classic and make it look original and your own and that makes it current.

And then I also have a small bathroom rug – rubber backed and perfect for bathroom use  that I bought at  Costco – and yes it would work perfect as well!  Decisions – decisions.  I know if I don’t use the wallpaper on the walls in the bathroom – it will make amazing wrapping paper – it is vibrant and perfect for using with different coloured ribbons and bows.  That is how the creative mind works – always thinking – and not quick  to make decisions sometimes!  (my mom would use wallpaper for wrapping paper – and as I child I always thought this was strange – but now I completely understand it).

Stay tuned – I will make a decision soon I hope – I am sure it will be beautiful whatever direction it takes!

oh the places you’ll go

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

by the incomparable Dr. Seuss

Dedicated to my sweet nieces Sarah Jane and Laura Mae

and everyone on the journey we call life!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy (or girl)who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then,

that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy! (or girl)

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Love Affair With Wallpaper

I love wallpaper -even when it was not the trendy in thing I still loved wallpaper.  I know, so many vow they will never use it again – usually after hours of trying to scrape old wallpaper off in preparation for repainting.  I totally understand the frustration – however, that  will not stop me from using it.  For me that is just part of the process of project management – you take something on and do it – the love of it is in the doing – the designing – the creating  so taking the old off – as miserable as that is – is just part of seeing something old turn into something new.

I have used it in my home – in the powder room and front hall.

I am dreaming about doing something in my upstairs bathroom and wallpaper is in my thinking.  For me it just makes sense to put it in a small room – and a bathroom is just that.  I have some ideas for what I want – but have not decided as yet.  And I know – you are thinking isn’t she working on her den – and we havn’t seen that yet – and didn’t she mention her bedroom – and where is that at?  Yup – you are right – said both of those things.  And those are both a work in progress – and you will see them soon.  Just not done yet – these things take time!  It’s all part of the creative process – especially when you are doing it yourself on a bit of a budget – you develop as you go – and that is the fun of it.  But while you are working away on one project – you can let your creative mind begin to develop another one – and that is what I am doing – or at least that is how I am justifying what I am doing!

And so I am thinking wallpaper.  I have a couple of rolls of paper that I bought years ago at $5 a roll – and it could work well.

But when my friend Michael Penny blogged about wallpaper the other day I just fell in love with some of the samples.  Here is the link to his posting – I hope this works – like I say – I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to this blogging and technology – so please have patience with me!  Visit his bog – it is great! (you can link to it from my blog roll)

Let me show you the papers that caught my eye – and I think they would look great in my bathroom – choices – choices!  They are all from Thibaut.

They can all be found at

As you know – I love green apple green – and this paper would look amazing with white towels – so fresh!

I love this paper – partly because of the colour – I like my reds and pinks and apricots – and it would look amazing with everything I have going on in the colour scheme of the house – might be just a bit to formal for a bathroom – would look better in my front hall- or my powder room – will have to wait for a redo  on those rooms- although – I do love this paper – could do it in the bathroom and be just a bit different!

I love the green and cream in this paper below – and it has a modern feel – would work really well!

And the colours in this paper are perfect – the olive green and apricot rose – how could I go wrong with this!

And the pattern looks amazing when it is on the wall!  I actually do LOVE the blue and olive green as well – one of my favourite combinations – maybe I should redo the whole house using blues and greens – so beach like – ok – well maybe I will wait on that for a while – although that is why I did buy a taupe couch – so I could vary up the accent colours.  Ok – now I am on a tangent – we are talking the upstairs bathroom – and so think I will stick to greens – yellows – pinks – apricots!

Not sure which direction to go – that is part of the fun – thinking about it – and the creating!  They are all beautiful!