Posted by Cobi on Wednesday December 09, 2015 at 10:01 AM
The first time I saw this Christmas tablecloth at our friend’s house, I was completely blown away.
Our friend Mark’s dear mom, Mary made it and when I saw it, I felt like the Grinch whose “heart grew three sizes that day”.
Every year at Christmas dinner, Mary would invite family to doodle on the tablecloth.
And then throughout the year she would embroider over the doodles in colourful thread. Mark gladly let me photograph it and we laughed about the years that she almost didn’t get her work done in time to lay it out on the table again.
Never have I seen so much love, talent, history, humour, sentiment, artistry and originality all wrapped up in one tactile family heirloom. She captured the years of her family’s Christmas’ in every stitch. What a treasure.
Special family members…
And budding family artists…
What an heirloom. What a gift! What an incredible symbol of what Christmas is all about.
Dare any of us even try to duplicate the beauty in Mary’s creation?
In my brave moments, I’d like to try. Is this the year to purchase a clean white linen cloth and a few bright bundles of embroidery thread? It doesn’t take any more than that and of course, a heart the size of Mary’s.
Here’s to Family, Love and Inspiration and a Very Merry Christmas!
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 25, 2013 at 06:00 AM
I am thrilled to participate again in Toronto’s Gardiner Museum’s 12 Trees of Christmas Charity Gala. The theme this year is “Things starting with the letter G” as the Gardiner is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Assuming that Gold, Glitter, Giving and Grinch were all quickly spoken for, I decided to go with the visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, and chose Gumdrops and Lollipops as my theme.
The first step was to select an artificial tree. It was a stretch for me not to choose the most realistic green tree I could find, but I liked the idea of one appearing to be sugar-coated and so I looked for a flocked or glittery tree. Instead I found a pink one! I knew as soon as I saw it, it was perfect because it reminded me of candy floss!! A pink, flocked tree with pink lights ~ yum!
I lucked out with ornaments too - can you imagine my delight when I found these gumdrop garlands?
And over-sized lollipops?
I knew from past experience that it helps to have something large on the tree (to fill in space and give it oomph). I found wonderful felt stockings in the same candy-coloured palette and ordered 12.
Isn’t it amazing how realistic these foam cupcakes look?
And I love the scale of these big glittery gingerbread boys…
And girls! The chocolate colour is a nice addition to all the syrupy pink.
We filled in the spaces with lots of perfect candy picks…
And I couldn’t help but tie on a few real sweet treats in hopes of adding to the sugar-high of little ones viewing the tree over the holidays.
Gumdrops of course…
All done up in cellophane cones which I found online through an amazing Ontario company - Crystal Clear Bags Canada- a great find!
We topped the tree with lollipop fairy wings from the Party Market (apologies for the bad shot!).
And then skirted it with children’s books (sweet-themed of course) and cobistyle pillows in assorted silk-look colours of fuchsia, turquoise, lime and orange.
There’s no doubt this tree is suffering from sugar-overload and will crash after December 25th.
But I’m so happy to report that very kind donors have purchased the tree (thank you Frank Bowman and Aaron Milrad!) and it will be brightening up the Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Centre over the holidays. What a sweet treat for us all to share indeed!
Posted by Cobi on Monday July 05, 2010 at 07:00 AM
I was just looking at this cute pocket board we have in our cottage, here in PEI.
It hangs over a bed and guests use it to keep the odd cd, ipod, novel, jewellery, a watch, sunscreen…it’s surprisingly handy.
And it got me thinking that everyone has a few old pairs of jeans in their closet, if not a stack!
And if they don’t, every thrift shop has denim just waiting to be bought for nothing.
If you’re at a cottage this summer, it might be a fun project to make something out of old bluejeans.
Here are some ideas….
If you’re up for a big project, you could try a quilt. The pockets are a fun addition:
Or here’s a small project that you could make up fast for stocking stuffers later in the year:
Here’s a fun idea, add a pocket to existing pillows you have at the cottage.
For a young friend, these purses are cute:
I’d like to make these cutlery/napkin holders - what a fun idea to take 10 or 12 to someone’s cottage for a hostess gift:
Or if that sounds too ambitious, how about two pot holders? The pockets are the perfect size for hands of course:
And here’ a summery look, you’ll be smashing serving lemonade in this:
Forever in Bluejeans Babe!
Posted by Cobi on Monday June 14, 2010 at 07:00 AM
I love weddings, and we’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a few this year.
I’m always interested to see how the bride makes the event ‘her own’. The little personal touches that you know were discussed, rehearsed, researched and no doubt worried about ad nauseum.
When I appeared on the Steven & Chris show this past spring, I brought with me a little memento of my parents wedding.
At their 50th Wedding Anniversary party a few years ago, we opened my mother’s wedding gown that had been stored in a brown box with green garbage bags covering it for 50 years. It had been moved from house to house and was covered in dust and so we were interested to get it out and see what shape it was in. I decided to make ‘the opening’ a part of the party and so with all of her bridesmaids around we opened the box…. And guess what? It was perfect! Makes you wonder about all of those expensive ‘preserving boxes’ doesn’t it? And it was so wonderful to see the women plumping and primping it just like they would have 50 years earlier.
Anyway, when we got the dress out a few other things fell out of the box that I found fascinating…have a look….
There was a miniature version of the wedding party (unfortunately one man is missing) that an older woman my mother knew, had carefully made out of scraps of the wedding party dresses. What a beautiful memento and really something special to see 50 years later. I am so glad I have them and keep them in a box in my dining room.
I know that kind of creative work is time consuming and intricate for today’s busy life, but it got me thinking how lovely the idea, if you are closely involved in a wedding, to do something with the extra material of the girl’s dresses. Even something very simple. No doubt the dresses will make their way to the recycling over time, but something small and sweet can be tucked in a box or drawer for years and years.
Maybe a little sachet….
Or a pretty drawstring purse. If you aren’t a sewer yourself, this would be an easy job to pay someone to make up.
These eye pillows would be a fun gift for each bridesmaid…
As would a jewellery pouch …
Or cosmetic bag…
It’s just one of those little personal ideas that makes a wedding meaningful. And how many things can you do nowadays that will be even more precious 50 years later? Think of a new generation - daughters, granddaughters - many years down the road, finding your little surprise and imagining a special day that happened 50 years ago…
Posted by Cobi on Monday May 31, 2010 at 07:00 AM
What is it about rick rack that’s so appealing?
Does it bring back memories of one of Grandma’s aprons? Or a favourite blouse from your childhood?
Is the wavy design the perfect blend of old and new?
Whatever it is, it seems to represent a simpler time when summers were long and houses smelled like apple pie.
You can tell how much I like rick rack just by looking at my picture to the top of this blog. I had that linen tunic made last year and chose large scale, white cotton rick rack to trim it. I love the gutsy, graphic quality of it.
Last week I found some amazing fabric called “Rick Rack Attack” - wouldn’t it make great napkins?
There are all kinds of things you can do with rick rack - from wrapping presents….
To wrapping lampshades…
Look at some of the things I found people doing on Etsy…
Even selling vintage rick rack…
Part of what I love about rick rack is the colour choice…
And did you know it comes in velvet?…
So make some waves and have your own rick rack attack…
Even if all you do is something small…
Posted by Cobi on Monday April 05, 2010 at 07:00 AM
Happy Easter Monday.
I think I’ve talked before about how I have a thing for birds, bird eggs and nests - some sunny day I’ll take some pictures and show them to you.
I put some of them away over the winter but when Easter arrives, I let them hatch all over the house again.
If you have a particular motif that you like, it’s a great way to personalize your home. And one of the best places to search for fun and interesting art and accessories is a site called Etsy. I’m sure many of you know it, but for those who don’t, it’s an amazing site, kind of like Ebay (without the bidding) but it focuses on one-of-a-kind, handmade objects. Etsy’s mission statement is: “to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers”. Pretty cool.
Here’s a selection of things I found when I searched my beloved bird eggs….
This is a lovely little print of an original acrylic painting on canvas. It measures 7” x 7” and is for sale by the artist for $12.50 US (unframed) plus shipping.
If you don’t like the idea of a print, here’s an original oil for sale with the sides of the canvas painted black so you can hang it without framing. It’s 16” x 20”, signed by the artist, and for sale for $135 US.
I love this print….it only measures 5.5” x 7.5” but it comes with a white border so you could frame it a little larger and it’s only $15 US plus shipping of course.
Or how about a beautiful little hand-felted nest to put on your window ledge for $20 US.
And of course, who could resist the jewellery…there’s tons of it. Check out this ring for $34 US.
And I love this necklace that says “little bird” for $16 US.
Or this one for $39 US….
It isn’t too late for the Easter bunny to bring mom some eggs - do you think?
All in the name of supporting Art!!
Posted by Cobi on Friday December 04, 2009 at 11:59 AM
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 05:59 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 06:00 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 October 26, 2009 at 07:00 AM
This Halloween decorating trick is a so easy, it’s scaaarry.
Have a boo….
My friend, Maureen found a great little gadget at Homesense called a Candle Carver. Since it isn’t always easy to find seasonal things there, we also sourced it on-line at The Great Canadian Gift Company. At $14.99, it isn’t cheap but it’s Made in Canada of stainless steel so it isn’t going to break after one use which makes it worth it to me.
I think there are lots of holidays I would use this little sucker ~ not just halloween ~ imagine a row of Asian pears at Christmas…lemons and limes in the summer….
Another idea it’s got me dreaming of is individual desserts. I haven’t tried this but I think it would be yummy: Make holes in enough apples for each guest to have one and fill with warm butterscotch sauce. Serve on a pretty dessert plate or saucer with more apple wedges for dipping. Does anyone have time to try this and let us know how it goes? mmmm…..
The other good thing about this little carver is that it’s a small item to keep in a drawer with your votives between parties. The rest of the centrepiece can be eaten or composted after use.
Have a Wicked Halloween!
ps/ If you want to do this without the carver, try stamping the pumpkin with an empty aluminum holder from a votive candle (like using a cookie cutter) then use a paring knife to cut out the hole. Might not be as neat but it will work too. Be sure to use a vegetable with a flat bottom! We don’t want any rolling pumpkins….
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 17, 2009 at 07:00 AM
I know not everyone has an old lobster trap kicking around waiting to be used for a project, but this worked out so well, I had to share it with you. And who knows, maybe some of my East Coast friends can use the idea?
On this years summer holiday at our cottage in PEI, Bob and I had to make a trip to the dump where there was a large pile of wood refuse, and being the island, a good part of it was made up of lobster traps and parts there of.
Surprisingly Bob and I both spied the same beautiful piece in particular that was just the simple arched frame, with no netting left on it and weathered to a perfect grey. My agreeable husband kindly climbed the pile and grabbed it for me - they’re heavier than you’d think! - and as we threw it in the van, we agreed we’d do something with it, although we weren’t sure what.
By the time we got home, I knew what. Bob screwed it to the side of our outdoor shower - it happened to fit the shower frame perfectly and we had a great towel rack up within 10 minutes (and no arguing!). It would also work vertically but the support wasn’t as good in our situation, it might be in another.
Anyway, it works like a charm and was easy peasy lemon squeezy to install - as easy as squeezin’ lemon on a lobster, by!
Oh, another little tip that even non-islanders can use: 2 years ago we painted the aluminum siding of our cottage gray to match the colour of the weathered decking, spindles and lattice around the place. It’s made the cottage look so much more cohesive (the odds and sods and bits that don’t line up blend in now) and we just use white trim on things that we do want to highlight like the screen doors. It’s a great idea if you have weathered wood on portions of your home or cottage that you don’t want to paint or stain (ie. maintain) - paint the other parts of the building to match!
After going through tons of grays and trying to match one to a broken spindle that I carried around in my purse, the best colour match was SICO “sketch” #6206-31 and the product my painter used for the aluminum siding is latex 811 Velvet. It goes on beautifully and stays on great (touch wood - or rather, aluminum ).