Posted by Cobi on Monday December 03, 2012 at 07:00 AM
We all need a little inspiration sometimes. Enjoy!
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
(I am so doing this for Bob!)
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Sam (I couldn’t find anything with Blitzen on it)!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 19, 2012 at 07:00 AM
• cobistyle products
How do you make the best exotic merry Christmas tree?
Well, you start with one average tree.
Hire two cute elves.
Add a thousand lights (must be multi-coloured to be considered exotic).
Take a tea break.
Add a hundred colourful ornaments.
Including bundles of gold beaded bracelets from little India.
Little beaded books (party favours really) and beautiful embellished ornaments from cobistyle.
Oh, and encrusted purse mirrors from cobistyle too, to add some bling.
Top with one turban.
You’re getting there…
Skirt the bottom with three sparkly sari’s.
And finally, stack up forty gold leaf boxes (that come with the cobistyle ornaments).
That’s what I did, anyway, when I participated in the Gardiner Museum’s 12 Trees of Christmas charity event. The theme this year was Christmas around the world. Each designer chose a country and I took India! I find the colours so rich and gorgeous - they lend themselves beautifully to a holiday tree. It was tons of fun and a great way to raise funds for charity. The trees are on display at the Gardiner until December 9th - go check them out!
Posted by Cobi on Monday December 19, 2011 at 07:00 AM
I trust you’re all busy bees, creating…
…in your home this season.
If it’s like my place, it feels more like a hurricane.
Baubles and beads are hanging everywhere.
Even from the rooftops!
I might as well serve them up for dessert!
They’re in every nook and cranny!
Even a few disco balls have gotten in on the act - “you’ve gotta move your feet when you feel the beat!”…
But wait - what about something homemade?
There’s still time to needlepoint a pillow if we work all night!
Or at the very least, make a snowman and dress him just right!
Whatever you do this Christmas, remember to smile.
And don’t even THINK about escaping the Peace and Joy of Christmas.
You know you’d miss every crazy minute of it and so would I.
Posted by Cobi on Monday December 05, 2011 at 06:58 AM
• cobistyle products
If you haven’t seen this issue of Reno & Decor magazine, I thought I’d show you the images from my recent cover story. We photographed the story in my own dining room back in September. With years of magazine experience under my belt, it brought back many fond memories to be dressing a room for Christmas on a warm, sunny day with the windows open.
What I’m not used to, however, is seeing my own product-line in a story (and in my house!). What fun it was to have fuchsia pink cobistyle chairs delivered from Decor-Rest. Open boxes of cobistyle throws, pillows, Christmas decorations, trays and accessories from Canfloyd. And hang beautiful chintz drapery named after my own daughter, Charlotte, from inVU.
It was really fun to integrate items that I’d conceived of for my line - like this lacquer box and Xmas balls - with my own personal decorations I use year after year.
And the colourful cobistyle table-decor with my own white dinnerware, linens and milk glass collection.
The brocade-covered Chinese take-out boxes are something of which I’m particularly proud. The idea is to use them for party favours or small gifts and the colours are so pretty - they come 4 colours to a box - and brighten up anywhere they’re displayed.
I guess I have a thing for multi-colours - these cobistyle napkin rings come 6 colours to a box. The jewel-like tones look great with crisp white linens.
I love my little Geisha girl place-card holders - are they not adorable? They also work as tree ornaments.
I know the colours are not traditional for Christmas but they look festive and bright just the same, especially when mixed with each other. The advantage too is that you don’t have to take everything down the minute Christmas is over. They look great for New Years and parties throughout the winter.
This shot doesn’t feature any cobistyle products but it does express my favourite sentiment for the season and so I guess in a way it’s still ‘Cobi-style’…
Posted by Cobi on Monday December 20, 2010 at 07:00 AM
Hope your Holidays are Sugar coated!!
And may all your Christmases be white…. see you next year! Cobi.
Posted by Cobi on Monday December 13, 2010 at 07:00 AM
I love the idea of incorporate collections into your Christmas decorating…
If you have Creamware…
Vintage Garden supplies …
Whatever your fancy, get it out, tie a bow on it and enjoy!
Posted by Cobi on Monday December 06, 2010 at 06:58 AM
This past weekend I hosted a simply smashing dinner party, dahling. I called it ‘Tartan & Pearls’ and it was a celebration of my husband, Bob (the birthday boy) and his hero, Winston Churchill (just because).
The UK theme worked beautifully for early Christmas…all the right colours but nothing overt…have a look.
I used blank note cards for the invitation. Tartan & Pearls set the theme for guests and gave them an idea of what to wear. One smart couple came with the woman in tartan and the man in pearls. Another friend came in full kilt and gag-tam with red hair sticking out. Add in a few tartan bow ties and top hats and there were lots of laughs all round.
For loot bags I gave out little bottles of cognac, black licorice cigars, ‘keep calm’ sniffs and Scottish shortbread.
I found plain white note cards at Walmart that worked well for simple tented place cards and inside each one I wrote a Churchill quote. Bob had fun choosing quotes from his many books and speeches and deciding who should say what. When we sat down, the guests were told to look at their quote and to stand at some point during the dinner and recite it while others would chime in “hear, hear!”. I thought some people might be a bit shy but that was definitely not a problem with this group - it sounded like the British House of Commons on a busy day!
Bob couldn’t help himself from putting together a Churchill trivia quiz. It was so easy and fun. The winner got a box of Walkers Shortbread of course!
English and Scotch mints filled dishes with wintry white…
And I got out a bit of Bob’s memorabilia and displayed it around for fun…
To get things started…Churchill’s favourite champagne: Pol Roger, seen here chilling in the porch in the afternoon.
We also had a selection of British beers which you can buy singly or in small packs. Who knew Tetley made beer?
For dinner, I couldn’t go as far as steak and kidney pies, but steak and vegetable did the trick. Served with peas of course! And a hearty salad.
After that we had a cheese course with English cheddar and Stilton and Carrs biscuits, then gingerbread cake, my homemade butterscotch sauce and cinnamon whip cream, yum!
Now the best part - the table - to get the theme going I bought a few yards of cotton tartan at the fabric store and cut it into two lengths so it ran from end to end. Then I pinking-sheared the remainder into napkins.
I have the perfect charger plates for this party, I bought them a number of years ago and they feature hunt scenes on each one. The white porcelain always looks great.
Down the middle of the table I stacked some of Bob’s Churchill book collection and used it for pedestals for votive candles and little crystal snowflakes my mom just gave me. It worked great and the red covers on many of the old books was perfect.
I regret I didn’t take a picture of the table just before we sat down when the candles were glowing - it was really pretty - but I was having too much fun!
There’s nothing better than the feeling you get the morning after a good party. It is most definitely our ‘finest hour’!
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 29, 2010 at 07:00 AM
This weekend we started decorating for the holidays - ‘we’ being my daughter, Charlotte and me. My house is definitely not a ‘decorator Christmas house’. It’s a ‘family Christmas house’ through and through with homemade ornaments and bits and this-and-that from years of collecting and crafting throughout the house. While sentimental, I also like to make things pretty of course, and enjoy playing with colours and moving things around to see what works where, making a little magic whenever possible with what we have.
Our living room suits a traditional Christmas red/green colour scheme perfectly with it’s red sofa smack in the middle. But the dining room is a different story - it’s brown and watery blue scheme demands it’s own attention. What I’ve learned looks amazing with soft blues and turquoise at Christmas time is rosy cranberry red, blush pink and lots of silver. In fact, it’s become one of my favourite colour schemes and I use lots of my vintage Christmas balls for inspiration. If you have blues and browns in your house, try forgoing the usual Christmas red and green and try thinking pink … here’s some inspiration to get you going…
Over the years I have collected many boxes of ‘shiny bright’ vintage Christmas balls just like all of these, and every year I threaten that I’m going to forgo our usual sentimental tree ornaments and only decorate in my vintage ball collection. Of course I never do it. That would be too ‘decorator driven’ for our house and my kids would kill me! We talked about it again this weekend and Charlotte told me very plainly I would have to wait until she and her brother had left home to do it (at the time she was proudly hanging a large bell ornament made from an upside-down plastic plant pot, spray painted gold with a pipe-cleaner handle).
I told her that’s ok, it gives me more years to find ornaments on sale in junk stores in January when no one else wants them. I know it will be pretty the year I finally see my ornaments all out of their boxes, and the tree is laden with sparkly balls all different but of the same vintage and with just the right patina. But as life would have it, I also know that seeing my tree will mean the years will have passed and I will be looking at it with a melancholy heart and pine for the tree of proud pipe cleaners and noodle angels.
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 22, 2010 at 07:00 AM
At this time of year I always get outside to gather some free supplies that Mother Nature offers up for Christmas decorating - branches, chestnuts, pine cones, boughs - just call me the frugal decorator, aka: crazy garden robber. Pine cones are the most versatile of finds. Here are a few inspiration shots to get you in the mood for an afternoon walk with a bag tucked into your pocket - just don’t tell them I sent you.
As the Barefoot Contessa would say…”how easy is that”….
But if you want to craft your heart out…spray paint is always a blast…
These are pretty and look easy, a nice addition to a tree or window…
This is beautiful but ambitious - a glue gunner’s dream…
We’ve all seen pine cone wreaths but this is a fresh, contemporary version…
I like the idea of giving new life to a homely mirror you find at the Sally Ann and then using it instead of a tray for candles…
Shiny painted cones hold their own with shiny holiday balls…
Brown paper packages tied up with string, just add a few of my favourite things…
A simple garland looks natural and modern at the same time…
Here’s a cute substitute for a wreath this year…
And a sweet little door hanger makes a fun homemade hostess gift hung on a bottle of vino…
The sparkle of silver and snow is always a winner in winter…
Pine cones interspersed with candied fruit or simple citrus colours is a natural (literally)…
And I love this idea best, little trees made of big pine cones and placed on candle holder pedestals…
Now don’t you have somewhere to go?
Posted by Cobi on Monday December 21, 2009 at 07:00 AM
As a working mom for so many years, I’ve trained myself that the only way I can entertain is to plan and prepare ahead of time. For any relatively organized, ‘type A’ overachiever, it’s the only way to go.
With that in mind…I get my dishes out the weekend ahead of any special dinner to figure out the table and make sure everything is clean and polished - I know, it all sounds very ‘Martha’ - but, like mom, she’s often right.
Here are a few ideas for setting a special holiday table.
I bought 12 of these chargers a few years ago when I was doing a special winter dinner party for Bob’s 40th. It was a splurge at the time but I knew on the spot that I loved them. So classic and they look great at any winter dinner party but especially Christmas. I love their size ~ they catch all the mess! - and the four hunt traditional scenes. I don’t know the pattern, they just say Royal Staffordshire on the back.
I don’t have enough white plates of my regular pattern (Wedgewood Coalport Countryware) and so rather than just have a few spares of another pattern, I alternate them half and half with some lovely square white plates I bought from the Brian Gluckstein Home collection at Home Outfitters. It looks good alternating in a stack and on the table - like I’m doing it for fun rather than necessity - love that.
In memory of my Grandmother, we always serve tomato juice at Christmas dinner. I remember everyone sprinkling it with pepper and drinking it at the beginning of our dinner when I was a kid. I don’t have little crystal cornflower glasses as she did, but I do have these heavy bottomed, stemless, wine glasses I bought somewhere along the line and they work well (plus go in the dishwasher!).
Speaking of my Grandmother, I couldn’t set the table and not use some of the dishes she left me. She knew how much I loved them. It’s ambitious to use them for the whole meal because I just can’t bear to put them in the dishwasher, but I always use them for one course and I encourage you to do the same - salad, dessert, soup - 10 or 12 smaller plates or bowls are a breeze to wash up and seeing them out on the table brings back warm memories of those we love. I use her double handled soup bowls for shrimp cocktail.
My daughter Charlotte loves helping me with place-cards. I bought these cute balls at a Hallmark store a few years ago and add a clipping of boxwood from the garden. In fact, little clippings of boxwood look great added to bows on gifts too. So easy and a nice touch.
?Now I have to run and polish the silver and 99 other things on the list….
Have a wonderful holiday and no matter how much you have to do, take a moment to sit by the tree and count your many blessings and all the things that are good in your life.
Posted by Cobi on Monday December 14, 2009 at 07:00 AM
My place is not a show house at Christmas time. I tend to go the sentimental route rather than ‘show stopper’. It’s not that I don’t want it to be beautiful, I’m just too darned attached to things from the past and their stories, for me to move on without them. I always threaten to not open my dusty old boxes one year and instead go for drama and stylish new glam, but it never happens. And to be honest, it likely never will.
Anyway, here are a few little tidbits from my house to yours that I thought might get the juices flowing if you’re a little dry on decorating at the moment. After all, it’s the little things that count at this overblown time of year….
Some ornaments are heavy for the tree and so I like to put them in my many (too many!) glass or creamware compotes.
I found adorable myrtle topiary at the Chinese flower store in Toronto and topped the soil with cranberries. So sweet.
I tie ribbons around the necks of most of my table lamps. Just a little trick but looks festive.
I also tie bits of ribbon around any of my favourite feathered friends. They seem to like looking festive too.
Here is our Santa collection to date…kids love it.
Over the last few years I’ve bought some over sized mercury balls. They just seem to fill in the blanks so easily.
I load my best silver tray in the middle of my dining table with all things sparkly glass and silver. The felt snowflake placemats are my favourite find this year and you’ll never guess where I found them ~ Wallyworld! (that’s Walmart for short) ~ who’d a guessed it?? Two for $6.00 I think.
Posted by Cobi on Friday December 04, 2009 at 12:59 PM
We need to focus on Christmas, people, and we need to do it fast!!
Here’s a unique and easy wrap (plus gift) idea to help the cause:
Use one of those great little reusable shopping bags that hold a ton and then neatly fold back up to keep in your purse or briefcase, as a gift bag. They’re available everywhere now and not a lot more expensive than really nice gift wrap.
The above shot is from the Envirosax website. I have a couple bags from the ‘Envirosax’ line in my purse at all times and the designs are great. Their site will shoot you to a short video on youtube that shows you how to wrap with one. It’s pretty straightforward but with the good tip of safety pinning the bottom points underneath your box so it looks a little neater. You can find Envirosax at tons of retailers or you can purchase them on their site, although I noticed they were a bit more $$ online.
This shot is from a line called RuMe Bags:
I also loooove a line called Baggu from the US because they do such great solid colours and their website is brilliant ~ literally!
I couldn’t help but grab a few images to show you…..
The site says they will ship to Canada for $7.00 and I love it that they offer not only single colours but 3 or 5 bags in a sac. Not cheap $22.00 and $35.00 US respectively, but so great for doing a full grocery shop and they last a long time….
Another great gift idea! One for you and five for me….
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!