Posted by Cobi on Monday November 30, 2009 at 06:59 AM
I taught my darling daughter to knit this summer while on holiday at our cottage on Prince Edward Island.
We used very large needles and big chunky yarn and so the results were quick and rewarding.
My mom taught me to knit about the same age (10) and I thought it would be fun to share the hobby with Charlotte even though I hadn’t knit myself in over 30 years.
It came back quickly and we had lots of fun talking about how grandma used to cast on and off for me and so I never learned that part and now I would have to use the little book I gave to her to teach myself so that I could do the same for her!
We also had a good giggle over the story of the infamous sweater I knitted for Bob when we were dating - long before we were married. It was the summer of 1982 and he had made a snap decision to travel from the west coast of Canada to the east coast, with only a back pack and a mission to meet as many provincial Premiers as he could just by knocking on office doors. It wasn’t the usual snap decision that a 20 year old man makes, but it was for Bob. He ended up with a full page story in the Toronto Star and stories of meeting five Premiers plus Joey Smallwood that will last him a lifetime.
What does this have to do with knitting you ask? Well guess what the poor girlfriend did while she pined away at home, working as Jr. Editor at Chatelaine magazine?? Of course, I knit him a sweater!
It was a nubbly gray wool and it was one of the first patterns I’d ever followed. It actually didn’t turn out too bad with 4 big exceptions: 2 armholes that only a broom stick could fit through (Bob was rake thin in those days but not that thin!) and 2 sleeves that reached his knees.
I recently read on a knitting website that you haven’t really knitted until you’ve made a sweater with arm holes too small and sleeves too long and so at least I can call myself a pro!
Anyway, Charlotte and I have had fun knitting ever since the summer. She caught on quickly and enjoys picking it up while watching tv or in the car. But the biggest surprise is how much I love it. In fact, I can’t stop knitting! The only thing is, I only want to do scarves. I don’t want to follow a pattern or ‘think’ while I knit. Just knit.
I know knitting’s satisfying that terrible trait I have of always needing to feel like I’m ‘getting something done’. So instead of just watching tv (which I seldom do anyway), I knit and watch tv. Or instead of just enjoying a drive to the cottage, I knit and play passenger. Or instead of visiting with girlfriends, I knit and chat. It’s kind of a sickness. But on top of feeding the need to be productive, I do also find it relaxing and I actually look forward to sitting down and knitting a few rows just like I look forward to my fiction novel at the end of a long day. ?
Most of our scarves are thick and long. Very long. Charlotte and I both agree that a scarf looks more ‘fashiony’ if it’s extra long.
They only cost the amount of 2 rolls of yarn (under $20 each) and so at that rate, lots of people are getting them from us at Xmas. We initially thought we’d do them for ALL of her teachers but that was a bit ambitious considering she likes to give gifts to everyone from the principal to the custodian. Maybe we’ll just stick to her key teachers this year . But I do think it’s a sweet gift for her to give and not expensive.
Anyway, I hope you’re inspired to pick up a couple of pointed sticks and get knitting again. If your mom isn’t around to cast on for you, I promise it isn’t that hard.
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 23, 2009 at 07:00 AM
One of my most treasured possessions is framed cutouts of my kid’s silhouettes.
Every time I look at them and realize how much they’re growing I love them more.
I have a large set at the top of the stairs leading to their bedrooms….
And I have the same set but made smaller and put in oval frames in my powder room.
The gentleman who did them is a total pro - talented, easy to work with and fast. I highly recommend him.
He’ll ship them to you flat and I bet you can get them framed in time for the holidays.
Have a look at Karl’s website www.cutarts.com and you’ll see he’s been featured in almost every decor magazine in Canada and the U.S. along with Oprah and InStyle.
He also does pets beautifully….
It’s the perfect holiday gift for your house or someone you love, so get on it! You’ve only got a month!
There isn’t an interior style that silhouettes won’t work with or a person who won’t treasure them.
So personal and classic, Santa’s elves couldn’t do better!
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 16, 2009 at 07:00 AM
There’s nothing better than shopping in your own closet….
Rather than store your beautiful wraps and pashminas at the back of your closet, get them out at this time of year and drape them over furniture. Of course some colours will work better than others, but if you’re a sucker for accessories like me, you’ve got a few to choose from!
Pashminas cozy up any chair without being bulky and add rich colour to your room at the same time.
Here’s my dining room (I’m really not loving the chocolate brown anymore but it’s an expensive change) ~ it made me happy this weekend when I draped my chairs with my orange and red pashminas. I’ll save my turquoise and cream ones for the spring….
Here are a few more images I found to get your juices flowing…more orange….
If you don’t have a closet full of accessories but like the idea, affordable fake pashminas are all over the place. Last year I noticed Chapters was selling them and called them ‘reading shawls’ ~ a nice thought indeed on a cold winter’s eve.
If you want to indulge in the real thing, I know the place. Kumari’s in Toronto. She has every colour under the rainbow and such good quality…deeelicious…and now you have a second excuse - you’re decorating your room not just your shoulders!!
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 09, 2009 at 07:00 AM
Last week I was out for an afternoon consultation at a beautiful townhouse. Newly built in a leafy central Toronto neighbourhood, everything is topnotch but the homeowner is savvy about design and wants to take it to the next level ‘beyond builder’ no matter how luxury her builder was.
She’s struggling with the entrance which (unlike the rest of the house) is small and without natural light or much character.
Along with some new lighting, my suggestion was to paint the inside of her front door.
Working with her colour scheme, she’s going with a lovely soft bluey green that she used in the kitchen (Farrow & Ball’s Teresa’s Green 236) but in an oil finish with some rich lustre. Have a look at this shot which was my inspiration ~ I know they have the windows but the blue is fabulous.
Painting the inside of your front door is one of the easiest things you can do to liven up a small entry hall. It’s a great trick in apartments or any home where the doorway could use more character.
Actually, painting interior doors of all kinds is a fun and easy design trick with much reward.
With a quart of glossy paint and an afternoon, you can make a big impact on your space.
I painted the inside of my front door glossy black (the same as the front) when we moved in and it made a huge difference. It’s so handsome, have a look at these black doors if you aren’t convinced….
This is a great month for a little decorating project like this…send me a picture if you take the challenge!
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 02, 2009 at 07:00 AM
Halloween’s over for another year but here’s a way to keep the lively warmth of pumpkin in your home all winter long…sumptuous velvet drapes.
The moment I saw this photograph of Ina Gartner’s Manhattan apartment (you know and love her as The Barefoot Contessa cookbook author, magazine personality and television host) in House Beautiful a few years back, I knew I loved it.
Just the words alone ~ “pumpkin coloured velvet curtains” ~ mmm..if that doesn’t warm up your living room on a bleak November day, what will?
But if that doesn’t suit, how about eggplant? Or olive green or red current? Ina would love that we’re using food for inspiration!
This room is a wonderful example of what I believe to be a simple recipe for successful decorating: livable neutrals on the walls, floors and some furnishings, livened up with a punch of intense, forthright colour that creates instant look-at-me interest and personality.
Without the shot of orange in this room it would look like any other. And yet the orange doesn’t have to be orange - it could be any other intense hue.
It also doesn’t have to be on the drapes (although I think it’s a great place to add softness and luxury to a Canadian room), it could be on the sofas instead and the curtains done in natural linen.
Remember my own red sofa? It steals the show with white walls and beige/brown floors.
You’ve likely got the neutral room, now just pick a place for a pow! of colour.
Easy to change. Easy to live with. Definitely a statement.
Ok, if I haven’t convinced you, I’ve convinced myself….I don’t know where I’m going to put it but I’m off to find “pumpkin coloured velvet!” … “yards and yards of it!” … she joyously exclaims!
Velvet to match the flames in the crackling fireplace on a cold winter night…heaven.
Thank you for another great recipe Ina!
Oh, I meant to mention that Pottery Barn carries some nice colours of velvet drapes…here’s an image….