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 05, 2012 at 06:59 AM
I’m so pleased to finally have my necklaces hung up and organized so I can see them!
I bought these hangers a long time ago and was waiting for our bedroom to be painted for me to hang them up.
I hung them behind our door which is in a small entry hall to the room.
The best part is that they’re out of the way but still visible. I’m terrible about buying things and never wearing them - hopefully this will help.
I know it isn’t an original idea but I kind of thought it was a bit unique, until I went on the internet (of course), where I found necklaces hung on shower curtain hooks on drapery rods…
On fabric covered boards with tacks…
On all kinds of coat hooks…
On peg boards…
On an old rake head!…
And even as an artistic element in a room.
Oh well, I may not be unique but at least I’ll be wearing a nice necklace.
Posted by Cobi on Monday October 22, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with luxury brands.
One point for the “love” side, is the packaging.
The colour and quality has such substance - a shock in our throw-away society.
Just as the Tiffany blue box has become an icon, so has the Hermes Orange box.
Designer-types are famous for reusing their orange boxes in their offices - to store things but also show off the number of purchases they’ve made at the famous store.
I have a few such boxes but prefer to keep them more hidden.
No, these are not my boxes (big sigh).
Mine are filled with ephemera….old birthday cards, paper souvenirs from weddings and funerals, special photos. Imagine 100 years from now, a great-grandchild will be going through the box, filled with this and that…
I also love the colour.
It’s an inspiration in decorating.
My friend and colleague, Cameron MacNeil, once did a story for House & Home magazines on matching paint colours to prestige packaging - he chose Fiesta Orange (27/701) from CIL to match the famous Hermes orange. I always thought a dressing or powder room would be amazing in it ~So daring, dahling!~
Martha Stewart did it in a hallway…
I love this more contemporary version…
As my own ode to the famous Hermes Orange, we did some wonderful leather-like accessories in cobistyle. A magazine or wastepaper bucket…
Tray (and coasters not shown)…
Perhaps Santa will bring you something in an Orange box this Christmas…or even better - some cobistyle!
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 27, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Summer decorating is special.
There’s a simple ease about it that makes us all say “ahhhh”….
I tend to think ‘country’ when I think summer…
But not everyone does. Some think ‘exotic’…
And far off places…
Even if they live in a downtown apartment.
But that’s the beauty of summer.
It is what you make it.
And hey - there’s still enough time to make this - one of the cutest, cheapest ideas I’ve seen in a long time!
Enjoy the last unofficial week of summer 2012!
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 13, 2012 at 06:59 AM
Ginger Jar: A Chinese porcelain jar with a wide mouth; domed lid and often a bulging, spherical body.
Although the Chinese traditionally used the jars to store a variety of goods, they acquired the name “ginger jars” because ginger was one of the most common spices exported to the West.
Today designers use ginger jars for display and decorating.
Of-the-moment American designer Ruthie Sommers chose this vignette for a recent portrait…gee, I wonder why? The mix of pretty blue and white porcelain, with powerful blue/black leather, is fresh and fun looking.
At this time of year, blue and white porcelain looks amazing outside, and it’s practical because it doesn’t rust or rot like metal and wood.
Of course it looks just as good inside loaded with blooms from the garden.
When buying a ginger jar, be sure to ask if it’s water tight so that you can remove the lid and use it as a vase.
What I love about blue and white porcelain is that it’s so quick to mingle. Look at it here in a rustic farmhouse setting…
And here in a contemporary, art-filled, classical home…
And here in a very traditional hallway….
Nothing phases blue and white - it’s like that friend who can mix equally well with royals and rebels alike.
Speaking of royals, Ralph Lauren has always used blue and white porcelain in his home line…
And I expect we will at cobistyle too. Here are just a few pieces in the current line:
Lots of pieces to mix and match…
Blue and white does love a party ~ it’s definitely at its best when grouped…
And with a classic decorating style like this, it looks like the Chinese will be exporting Ginger Jars for many years to come!
Posted by Cobi on Monday June 18, 2012 at 07:07 AM
What I like about the female brain is that it works laterally. Men would never get the idea of ‘Table Scarves’. But women do! We introduced Table Scarves into the cobistyle line this Spring and they’re a hit! Have a look:
Plus we all know women will shop anywhere for anything - home in a fashion store - fashion in a home store - who cares?
If it’s pretty - lay it on me - literally!
Of course we’re suggesting you use these gorgeous scarves on your table…
Or at parties…
They also look great over a chair…
But when the mood suits - make your table share! And wear it like you’re a 9’ model!
And like celebrity ‘it girl’ Sofia Vergara…
I love this pink/red combo from an American dept. store…
Our scarves tie great and are a generous size (bigger than this)…
They bring pop and pizazz to a plain outfit…
So what’s my home wearing this spring? Just let me check my closet…
And what am I wearing? Let me check my table. I knew you’d get it.
Posted by Cobi on Monday May 07, 2012 at 07:00 AM
My daughter became a teenager over the weekend. She loves anything to do with the arts but particularly music. Her main birthday gift is a piano (her little keyboard just ain’t cuttin’ it any more).
As I’ve been trying to figure out where to fit a piano into our home - I started to look online for inspiration. Of course the best inspiration comes from a grand…
And although our living room housed a ‘grand’ when we purchased the house.
I managed to fill up the room with furnishings so that the only realistic option is an upright upright (for the pocketbook too).
I expected most pianos to be black…
Or dark wood…
But on a quick search, I found every colour of the rainbow.
So many ideas, my ears are ringing. I will post a picture of our purchase once we have it and hope that you will all say, “Bravo!”
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 November 07, 2011 at 07:00 AM
I once read about a study that was done on how to get your kids to read. Was the key, reading to them every night? Making them read to you? Starting them young? What was the key to teaching kids the joy of reading? The scientists were very surprised to find that none of that mattered as much as one very simple thing. Having books in the house. By simple virtue of having books in the house - not even kids books - children turned out to be the biggest readers. The adults in the house didn’t even need to be huge readers themselves - it was simply the number of books in the house that made the difference. That being said, I can’t imagine a house full of books without an owner who loved to read. I imagine it’s just another life lesson of ‘actions speaking louder than words’. Kids or no kids, books are a wonderful addition to any house.
They not only add depth and character, but beauty as well.
I’ve always loved the idea of a ‘dining room/library’. It’s a great way to give a seldom-used dining room more purpose, and what a rich atmosphere in which to dine!
Black shelving is dramatic…
…but I’ll always be a sucker for white.
Bookshelves make for a double-duty room divider if you’re short of space.
And they provide a natural backdrop for bringing colour into a room.
For some, that means serious colour!
But for dabblers, books make wonderful pedestals for objets on tables…
Or on chairs…
And of course, coffee tables…
Books can even make a coffee table!
Or side table!
Books are a great way to warm up a mantle-scape…
Or fill in a big empty hole!
Wherever you choose to display your books, they’ll help make your house, a home, and it’s probably the easiest thing you’ll ever teach your kids.
Posted by Cobi on Sunday October 09, 2011 at 07:00 AM
If you’re hosting the turkey dinner tonight, have no fear - cute fall tabletop ideas are here!
This image is stunning. The orange paper lanterns look like giant pumpkins overhead and I love the idea of bringing tartan to the table through napkins and blankeys. We should all have a collection of old wool tartan blankets to pull out in the fall!
Here’s another cute idea - pull out old family photos to use instead of place cards. What a great way to get people to the table!
And enjoy memories of family no longer with us.
If you have a box of price tags from the dollar store - create instant place cards by slipping them over the stem of a pear.
If you don’t; a little piece of twine works well with any kind of tag and fruit…
No tags at all? How about metallic pen on an apple or pomegranate? See - no excuses not to tart up the table!
If you’re more of a ‘professional arrangement kinda gal’ just make sure it’s gorgeous and bountiful like this…
Or buy a bunch of mixed flowers at the grocery store and cut them really short to create your own arrangement…
I love this skinny table set with old and new pieces. Classic and lovely.
Here’s a fun little craft if you own carving tools - these gourd vase and bowl ideas are sweet…
If warm tones aren’t you, don’t despair - purple looks amazing with fall colours…
As does crimson! It’s fabulous and unexpected alongside yellows and golds…
Try using unexpected items on your table or convert things, like candle holders, into props and pedestals.
Head out to the garden for some branches - understated elegance in a glass vase.
Or just lay one beautiful branch at each place - Bittersweet is perfect…
No branches? How about a simple piece of raffia and a wooden bead? See … no excuses…
Fall foliage also looks amazing in a glass vase - no fuss, no muss, no cost.
And here’s a perfect kids table anyone can do with kraft paper, crayons, a few pears and pots…
If you aren’t hosting this year, don’t miss out - do up your mantle and light a crackling fire …
And then take a moment to give thanks for all of your many blessings…
Posted by Cobi on Monday September 26, 2011 at 07:00 AM
I’ve often had people ask me about the open-shelves in my kitchen. There’s an understandable fear of dust and grease making them impractical. Well I can tell you that after living with them for 6 years, I don’t find that to be a big enough issue to over-ride the appealing look, and ease of use, they bring to my kitchen.
Here are some other beautiful examples of open shelves in kitchens…
Gorgeous! But what if you aren’t renovating and want to create the look in your existing kitchen? Try removing the doors on a section of your cabinetry and paint out the interiors for a similar look…
Open shelves are often the key feature to a country kitchen…
But there are very hip looking kitchens with open shelves too…
And even loft spaces…
Open shelving is a wonderful way to show off a collection and make sure it gets use!
If you can’t find a way to incorporate open shelves into your upper cabinetry, you may want to think about a section of the lowers…
Or creating an impromptu version in a hutch…
Or even on a basic set of shelves…
Wherever open shelves are, they’re a beautiful way to create displays and vignettes in your home…
Or bring in colour…
The lack of colour on these shelves creates a more calm, classic, almost utilitarian look…
But hey, if colour is your thing, don’t hold back…
Basically, this idea is for anyone who’s open to it!
Posted by Cobi on Monday June 20, 2011 at 07:00 AM
Fireplaces tend to get abandoned in the summertime, leaving us with a big black hole in the middle of our living rooms. Take advantage of the display space and treat the darkness as a backdrop to lighter, brighter things.
Here are some cheap and cheerful ideas to get your noggin noodling…
Place a big potted flowering plant in front…
Fill the hole with a mirror for the summer…
Paint a pretty old fire grill white…
Fill the grate with white birch bark logs…
Or clean, split wood with the ends showing…
Lean a painting…
Lighten the darkness with houseplants…
Decorate with some dried hydrangea from the garden…
Put a couple of Chinese garden stools or large ginger jars and a bamboo screen in front…
Give one or two of your favourite objects centre stage…
Or if it isn’t a working fireplace and you’ve cleaned it up, use it as a place to store books…
And then of course there’s always the option of buying cobistyle lanterns (I know, I’m shameless). They sure do add cheery colour and a beautiful glow when lit in the evening…
I hope one of these ideas lights your fire this summer!
Posted by Cobi on Monday February 28, 2011 at 07:00 AM
It’s wonderful to be given something that has sentimental family meaning. It’s a beautiful way to remember and honour people who have passed and to make your home unique and your decorating meaningful. However, we all know that many heirlooms don’t suit our current day interiors and often create clutter and well, ok, I hate to say it but simply collect dust and we find ourselves including them in our rooms out of feelings of obligation and sentiment while not enjoying the objects themselves.
Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate heirlooms into your interiors while creating beautiful rooms at the same time.
Use the heirloom as a jumping off point for decorating. Here, a few old pieces of red transfer-ware are made into a focal point by building on the look further with toile wallpaper in a pretty hutch. Clearly these pieces are treasured and enjoyed every day this way.
Photos go from average to amazing when massed together and framed in a collective way. They command attention when placed together and make a great conversation point for guests.
One heirloom can spark an entire collection and why not? If you love something you’ve been given, it may just be a collection in the waiting. Just don’t forget which one has the sentimental story behind it.
Don’t be a snob about pedigree - your home isn’t a museum - mingle special family pieces with new reproductions. They will be more apt to be used and enjoyed.
Turn something old into something new. Make a few adjustments with paint or in this case, hardware, and suddenly an old piece has a new lease on life. A solution that’s easy on the pocketbook too.
If you don’t have the room or desire to display something all the time, bring out heirlooms at holidays - they will make holiday decorating all the more special.
Decorate around an heirloom. If you love it - let it set the tone for an entire room. No decor theme could mean more than family history.
Change the function of an heirloom to suit your lifestyle. This silver tea service is allowed to tarnish without apologies - many people love the time-worn patina of tarnished silver - and it’s used to hold flowers rather than afternoon tea.
And these candy dishes hold shell collections and other natural finds.
Let family pieces work for you rather than just sit on display. Your tabletops and rooms will look much more unique for it.
I will be on Steven & Chris on the CBC this Friday at 2:00pm talking more about this very thing. Be sure to tune in!
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 15, 2010 at 07:00 AM
With the holidays coming it might be a good time to think about setting up a little bar in your living or dining room.
I can’t blame the MadMen phenomenon on the fact that I love the look of a little set up bar in a house.
And I personally don’t drink mixed cocktails, so it isn’t even really self serving.
I’ve just always found a designated spot for happy hour to look so glamorous and grown up. Very ‘New York apartment’.
What the heck, a girl can dream! Why not try it over the holidays….
You don’t need much - a little tray table…
A spot in front of a window, bookcase or blank wall….
Even just a tray on an existing console…
A trolley cart is perfect of course…
I love this one in Indochine black…
A sideboard that usually holds china or accessories can easily be put to work as a bar…
Setting up on a mirrored surface is extra glamorous and would be sparkly for the holidays…
I think it’s really just the ‘idea’ of cocktails that makes a bar so appealing.
This whole set up does come with a built-in warning however, so be careful…
Caution: Proceeding with this decor idea may lead to Entertaining.
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 08, 2010 at 07:00 AM
Last Friday I appeared on Steven & Chris and talked about arranging bookcases (if you missed it, click here to see it online).
It got me thinking how much I love bookcases in the home - even if it’s just straight white ones with a rainbow of colourful spines…
I love bookcases that wrap around doors…
Bookcases that wrap around windows…
Bookcases that go to the ceiling…
No matter the shape of the roofline…
Bookcases that even line the ceiling!…
Bookcases with wallpaper in the back…
Or painted colours to better show off the items on display…
Bookcases painted black…
Or the same colour as the walls…
Bookcases layered with art…
Running down halls…
Bookcases that turn dining rooms into libraries in the day…
Or divide two rooms…
And hold collections…
The latest decorating trend in bookcases is to ‘colour code’ your books…
It looks very cool but I’m not so sure about practical it is…
Same goes for ladders - I love the look but probably not very useful…
Speaking of not practical, this is probably my favourite room with bookcases, I love the swath of velvet in front…
But the beauty of bookcases isn’t just their appearance, it’s having them nearby a comfy place to read. It really doesn’t get much better than that.