Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Style in One Picture

J...I know, I know, it's supposed to be just one picture, but I honestly believe these pictures I found over at Haute Design, belong with  my dream kitchen.

all images scanned via Côté Sud, November 2002)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

J.  So V., what are your plans for Thursday.  I'm thinking

a picnic...

with perhaps a...

Quiche Lorraine
1 unbaked pie crust (your own recipe)
8 sl bacon
1 med onion, thinly sliced
4 eggs, beaten
1 c light cream
1 c milk
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
dash ground nutmeg
1-1/2 c swiss cheese, grated

Line pastry shell with foil fill with weights.  Bake in 450 oven for 5 minutes.
Remove weights and foil and bake further 5-7 minutes until pastry is almost done.
Remove from oven and reduce heat to 325.
In a skillet cook bacon until crisp, reserving 2 tbsp of dripping.
Crumble bacon finely and set aside.
Cook sliced onion in reserved drippings until tender, drain.
In bowl, thoroughly stir together eggs, cream, milk, flour, salt, and nutmeg.
Stir in bacon, onion and cheese, mix well.
Pour into warm pastry shell.  If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent
overbrowning.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until set in centre.  Let stand ten minutes.

I've found a pretty summer dress...

and a cardie in case the evening gets cool...


and a bag...

So I'm ready for the party, just one thing to add...

CANADA's going to be a blast!

dress, cardigan, shoes, bag Anthropologie  

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Safe Place

Even though I am over three thousand miles from Toronto and all the brouhaha that has been going on with the G20, the recent riots and news about a city scarred by these protestors, I started to think about personal safety. The house across the road from me has been broken into twice in just a few months, both incidences during the early morning hours and both when the occupants have been inside sleeping. The house is a small bungalow, and the first entry was made through an open livingroom window, the second through an unlocked back door. The second time the thieves took a flat screen tv which they had to disconnect, and carry out through a narrow door, navigating past an awkwardly positioned refrigerator. Not a dash and grab kind of break in. All the while three adults slept on without hearing anything, only to wake up to find most of their electronic equipment was missing. Talking with neighbours about this started to make me feel 'unsafe' about living in this neighbourhood, but lying in bed last night thinking about my 'safety', I came to the realization that being safe isn't about a 'place' somewhere. If I move from here to there will I be more safe? I don't think so. Being 'safe' is not a place it is a feeling, an attitude, a state of mind.I can't change people, I can't stop people from wanting to invade our personal homes, from being intruders and stealing things. What I can do is change how I feel about it all. This world with crazy and dangerous people, gangs of thugs like the 'Black-Bloc', can terrorize us and keep us living in a state of fear only if we choose to allow them. I am not scared or scarred by them, and neither should the city or people of Toronto. I am not a victim of petty theft because my neighbours house was broken into. I choose to feel safe because I know that my neighbours and the majority of people that live with me in this city, join me in sharing a set of common values, these values include trust, truth, respect for one another that create a shield of safety around me. These common shared values create a barrier repelling the toxicity of the minority. We need to focus on strengthening these values, creating stronger communities of like-minded individuals who seldom meet each other but share a collective consciousness of love and trust. A 'safe place' is then a relationship with all people who have reverence for one another and everything in this beautiful world. It is an environment of people who are connected by their souls, who have a silent agreement to live by a code that honours and respects each other to live each day in grace. Rise up people of Toronto, rise up to your common shared values...step into your Higher Selves ...walk in truth knowing that you live in a city where you can always feel safe.

G20's OVER

J.  The brouhaha is over, all the bigwigs have flown home, and Toronto is left to clean up the mess and to lick it's own wounds.  What will not go away any time soon, is the damage done to Toronto's image.  No longer the 'cleaner, gentler' city, Toronto will be forever scarred by the ugliness inflicted by the few.
These meetings are as much a showcase now, for what I believe to be the worst examples of our human behaviour, as they are a coming together of the heads of state.  It's a sad and sorry state of affairs.  As Rex Murphy states below, these people give protesters a bad name.

Rex Murphy protests the Black Bloc

Rex Murphy Point of View
June 27, 2010 
No decent, civilized city - and Toronto is both - should be held hostage by the actions of a set of ferociously insolent thugs and vandals.
Which is what happened here yesterday afternoon, and in fits and starts last night and early morning.  A band of black-masked, malicious, and potentially dangerous ne'er-do-wells did their radical best to get a racket going:  torched a couple of police cars, did their petty "let's smash the windows" trick, insulted the police, intimidated spectators, and tried to order the press around.
The world has seen this knob of losers and self-nominated 'anarchists' before; they gave themselves the comic-book brand "Black Bloc" long ago, and they have been the noisome tail to the dog of every high order world meeting for well over a decade.  There was even a flash of them smacking downtown windows at the recent Olympics, you'll recall, until everyone turned on them for their vandalism and cowardice, and they vanished. 
People also remember the havoc, damage and ugliness they kicked up in Seattle; remember, too, Genoa, Madrid, and Quebec City.  It was always too much to hope that Toronto would be spared their attention.
For this set of malcontents - they're not protesters - protesters have moral standing - the deliberations of heads of government in a time of crisis is merely a background stage on which to engage in violent and arrogant abuse of the idea of civic action.  They degrade protest.
Don't buy their muddled mendacious rhetoric either.  They care as much about the general well-being of the rest of us as the stone or brick in their hand, or that hammer cares for the well-being of the Starbucks window.
Some people are saying that Toronto shouldn't have hosted the summit because this crowd would cause trouble. Absolutely wrong.  Cities and governments don't choose to do, or not to do things because a couple of hundred hit-and-run artists put up a smarmy threat of "direct action". The splinter doesn't direct the oak.
Yesterday's mini-riot had one irony that will be very hard for some to digest.  It gives at least partial cover for the extraordinary one billion dollar cost that went into security for the G20 meeting here. The Black Bloc, and they will love this, is Stephen Harper's best political friend today.
For very long, the pseudo-anarchists have been coddled and played with.  The costs of that approach showed up in the images of Toronto broadcast all over the world yesterday.  "Toronto the mild" looking like "Toronto the war zone".  In so far as it is at all possible, those responsible for criminal activity and damage to property should be arrested and charged.  They should be banned for good from any like event in future.  Penalties should be heavy.
Toronto is a decent, civilized city.  Hooligans and thugs should never be allowed to twist those virtues into a shield for their own ignorant and dangerous ends.
For The National, I'm Rex Murphy.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


This picture expresses 'my style' mostly because it's a kitchen.  I love the soaring ceilings, the plasterwork, the chandelier, the mix of wood and concrete.  The enormous sink and mirror.  I could live in this room...forever.

Friday, June 25, 2010

J.  Almost there!  Moving counter-clockwise (sort-of) round the room:

Hanging rods still to be installed left of the shoes

with valet pole!

hanging to go above the Japanese cabinet

one of my favourite pieces.

The sitting area at the end of the closets.

and finally, we are back in our bed!

So there's still rods to fix and clothes to sort and pictures to hang...but I am such a happy girl!

Wallying Around

J.  We have a new term in our family lexicon...'wallying around'.  I thought we were being terribly original, but it seems there is already a definition.  According to the Urban Dictionary...wallying around means:

to drive around aimlessly with nothing to do

I actually prefer to use it more akin to 'faffing around', which again the UD defines as:

to muck about, wasting time doing something not necessary.

So there you have it...your choice, but it's almost the weekend so wally or faff, relax, enjoy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

'You Promised to Take Care of Me'

V. I can't seem to stop thinking about a post a fellow blogger Tom Stephenson wrote
( on his blog about the story of dog who kept killing chickens that would escape their roost. The owners decided that to solve the problem the dog had to die... so they shot him!
Disposable cruel.
I have been seriously thinking of getting another dog since my beloved Cho Cho passed away this February. I take this ownership seriously and know the commitment that I will give when a pet comes into my life is a contract between myself and that dog that is unconditional. It is an agreement between myself, my soul and my dog.
I have been looking to adopt a rescue pup and visit the website daily to see where my heart is waiting for me. There is a post there of a darling dog who has been returned to the shelter because the owners are moving and they can't or don't want to take the dog with them.
How is that possible?
When you sign up to bring an animal into your life isn't it for better or worse?
Another couple I know have decided to move to a warmer climate to finish working on their masters, and don't want to take their two cats with them so they are looking for a new owner or perhaps they will just drop them off at a shelter!
Disposable tragic!
So, I ask myself what would I do if my dog kept killing my escaped chickens...I know what I do...I think the first approach would be to fix the roost so the chickens couldn't escape, or perhaps keep the dog inside while the chickens had a free runabout each day, there seems to be so many options available other than killing the dog.
Disposable love... how very, very sad.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


J. V. inspired me with this, this morning:

Right now we are in a different time with a different order of Leadership...the old ways don't work any more and some people are still clinging to them.  The backward thinkers of this world cannot see this or perhaps are scared of the changing ways...For the 'Good of All' and selflessness, is taking over from self-interest and cynicism, even if it's taking a beating on the way.
Companies today will only survive when they serve with courage, authenticity, service, truth-telling and love, because those companies that do are reading the needs of our society in our world that is changing at an incredible speed.
Breaking ground takes an incredible amount of courage.  To be a leader, the one at the front means taking the first hit.
Bringing passion and meaning back into work, will inevitably bring it into this world.

This gives me hope.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lessons from Summerhill

'People don't care how much you know
Until they know how much you care'

Monday, June 21, 2010

Radishes and Roosters!!

V. This may seem like a strange place to begin to speak of the last 10 days away, but our food at Summerhill was simply divine. Our host/teacher brought her daughter Meadow in to do all the cooking, three incredibly delicious meals a day for 10 days. She took our taste buds on travels around the world, each meal began with a prayer and then each dish delightfully described in detail by Meadow.
On one of our travels to France Meadow served her homegrown organic radishes. Stunningly displayed on a platter with their green leaf tops overflowing, these ruby gems, round and fat were served with Irish butter and Celtic salt.
The French have been honouring this vegetable for years by serving it as an aperitif along with sipping a wonderful chilled white wine.
Slice the radish in half and cover its glistening white centre with butter, then sprinkle with the salt. The combination of the crisp of the radish, the soft sweetness of the butter and the tang of the salt create a flavour sensation in the mouth. Truly a simple yet delicious experience.
At the end of the meal I was given the honour to collect the radish tops and deliver them to the chickens as these birds, who must have French heritage, consider these greens a real treat.

Radishes and Roosters who would have known would be waiting for me here!

Follow Meadow on her blog


The Waiting  Gustav Klimt

J.  You've been away for a very long time V.  Time to tell us all about your travels.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

V. Happiness is Contagious

....if you teach your children to achieve
they will never be content.
If you teach them contentment,
they will naturally achieve everything.

We all want our children to be happy.
Somehow, some way today
show them something that makes you happy,
something you truly enjoy.

Your own happiness is contagious.

They learn the art from you.
- William Martin -

J.  The men in my life...the Dads



HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the Dads.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

J.  NOTL Strawberry Festival...a bagpiper in a kilt...

...beautiful ladies in their strawberry gear...

...jam-boy stirring the pot...

...Presbyterian organ pipes.

What more could one ask for?

Six pots of homemade jam and one hot-sweet mustard!
What a day!

p.s.  SO glad you are home safe V.  Sweet dreams!

Happy to be Home

'Oh I missed my clean white linen and my fancy french cologne'
I hear you Joni!
Home Sweet Home! this whole trip has been weird...first I arrive without luggage, not because they lost it but because they never put it on the plane when I checked in... and now I'm trying to get home and my flight is cancelled!
What is going on! Apparently fog stops you flying into San Francisco, but doesn't stop you flying out of San Francisco! Are there two sides to fog?? So here I am stuck in SLO for one more night...wish me luck in the morning

Friday, June 18, 2010

J.  I can't be precious about my copper pots.  I don't polish them any more, except on extremely bad-weather days when I can't go outside to play and I'm looking for something, anything to do!  I use them, wash them, put them away.
After twenty years of this abuse, they do need re-tinning however.  I am having a heck of a time finding someone who does this.  If anyone knows of such an angel, that exists within driving distance of Niagara on the Lake, I would love to hear about them (shipping them anywhere would just be silly).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shell Shocked

J.  The last two days have been a nightmare.  If anyone out there is considering having cove-molding put in their home AFTER they have moved in, I have one word for you DON'T.  I know I'm finicky, but this is awful.  It is one of the messiest, dirtiest processes I have ever experienced.  Rudy and I refinished hardwood flooring once...something I would never repeat.  This rates right up there with that.
Having said all of that though...l love the way it looks!

 We are having a day off today while everything dries.  The painters begin tomorrow.  Hopefully, all the outside work will be done by Friday and then we begin on the interiors.

p.s.  Heard from V. this morning.  She travels back from Big Sur tomorrow. Says the course has been wonderful and exhausting and promises lots of interesting news next week.  I can't wait!

J.  One of our local breeders has a litter of American Bulldogs for sale.  I am so tempted, I love these dogs.  Shall I?  Shan't I.  It's been almost 13 years since we've had a I even remember how to train a puppy?  What to do!!

Monday, June 14, 2010


J.  Coming along nicely...everything has to be painted but we have to wait until the cove-molding is up.  I'm doing a bit more work on the innards today.  This is such an opportunity to think outside the box and customize the interiors to meet our very specific needs (Rudy and his wooden shoe trees!)
I'd like to incorporate our Japanese dresser in one of the closets, so much prettier than just simple drawers.
My friend Mireille said that in France, closet doors are 'decorated'.  She didn't quite elaborate, but I'm feeling inspired by the idea.  If anyone has any reference points, I'd love to hear about them.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

V. The winds of change are blowing....

J.  Phew...a 1-1 tie, first game...

someone just told me this World Cup thing goes on for a whole month...I'm not sure I have that kind of attention span...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hello from Summerhill Ranch

V. As I sneak away to find a quiet spot in the cabana above to say a quick hello as the past few days here have been full and long and very delicious!
Happy to say luggage arrived and I have never been happier to see my suitcase!
The weather is hot and sunny and I'm loving every minute of it.
There's much to tell but not enough time right now.
So goodnight, I will be back when I can.

Just saw these in the new Lonny Magazine...made me laugh!
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